Carnival Corporation & plc

Past and Present – Carnival Corporation & plc

Carnival Corporation & plc is an Anglo-American cruise operator and is currently the world’s largest travel and leisure company, with a combined fleet of over 90 vessels across ten well known cruise line brands.

As a dual-listed company, Carnival Corporation & plc is composed of two companies, the US-based Carnival Corporation and the UK-based Carnival plc, which both companies functioning as one entity. The Carnival Corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Carnival plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The Carnival Corporation was founded as Carnival Cruise Line in 1972 as a subsidiary of American International Travel Service (AITS) by Ted Arison and Meshulam Riklis. In 1987 Carnival completed an initial public offering of 20 percent of its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange, raising approximately $400m. The capital raised was used to finance acquisitions, so in 1993 the business was restructured as a holding company, under the name Carnival Corporation, with Carnival Cruise Line becoming its principal subsidiary. Between 1989 and 1999, the company acquired Holland America LineWindstar Cruises, WestoursSeabourn Cruise LineCosta Cruises and Cunard.

P&O Princess Cruises plc was formed in the year 2000 following the demerger of the passenger cruise operations of P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises from the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) Group. Following its formation as a separate entity, P&O Princess Cruises plc operated the P&O CruisesPrincess Cruises, Swan Hellenic and P&O Cruises Australia brands. In 2001 it acquired AIDA Cruises and established A’Rosa Cruises (sold in 2003).  In 2003 it established the Ocean Village brand (liquidated in 2010).

In 2003, Carnival Corporation acquired P&O Princess Cruises plc. It was agreed that P&O Princess Cruises plc would remain a separate company, listed on the London Stock Exchange and retaining its British shareholder body and management team. The company was renamed Carnival plc, with the operations of both companies merged into one entity. Carnival Corporation and Carnival plc jointly own all the operating companies within the Carnival group. 

Prior to Carnival Corporation’s acquisition, P&O Princess Cruises plc had agreed to a merger with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The deal unraveled with the Carnival Corporation offering improved terms to P&O Princess Cruises plc British shareholders.

In March 2020 all cruise ship itineraries worldwide were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of cancelled cruises, Carnival Corporation & plc announced in September 2020 that it intended to dispose of 18 ships, a full 12% of its entire global fleet. The corporation also announced that it was delaying the delivery of several new ships already on order. These steps were part of the company’s cost-cutting plan. The company’s cost-cutting plan was very important as the suspension of operations had a negative impact on all aspects of the company’s business, including the company’s liquidity and its financial position. It is estimated that the company will have lost around $20 billion (US) dollars due to the pandemic.

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