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Carnival Sees $2.2 Billion Q4 Loss, Notes Solid 2022 Bookings Pace

Carnival said advanced 2022 bookings are running ahead of 2019 levels, but cautioned it will likely post an adjusted fourth quarter loss of $1.9 billion.

Carnival Corp.  (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report shares slipped lower Monday after the cruise operator said it would likely post a fourth quarter loss of $2.2 billion.

Carnival said in a Securities & Exchange Commission filing that its adjusted loss for the three months ending in December would come in just under $2 billion, but noted it closed out the year with around $9.5 billion in cash and equivalents. Carnival, which operates the AIDA, Costa and Princess cruises, also said its cash burn rate improved modestly, to a monthly rate of around $500 million, and that advanced 2022 bookings were running ahead of 2019 levels.

"2020 has proven to be a true testament to the resilience of our company," said CEO Arnold Donald. "We took aggressive actions to implement and optimize a complete pause in our guest cruise operations across all brands globally, and developed protocols to begin our staggered resumption, first in Italy for our Costa brand, then followed by Germany for our AIDA brand."

"We are now working diligently towards resuming operations in Asia, Australia, the UK and the U.S. over the course of 2021," he added. ""With the aggressive actions we have taken, managing the balance sheet and reducing capacity, we are well positioned to capitalize on pent up demand and to emerge a leaner, more efficient company, reinforcing our industry leading position." 

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Carnival shares were marked 1.6% lower in early trading Monday to change hands at $20.15, trimming its six-month gain to around 34%.

Carnival shares were boosted late last year by new guidelines from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, which issued a framework for a phased re-start to cruise ship companies following their 'no sail' order from early March and an estimation in late September that vessels "continue to be an unsafe environment with close quarters where the disease spreads easily and is not readily detected."

The initial phases of the reintegration will consist of implementing safeguards for crew members, with the CDC ensuring ship operators have enough protective equipment for the crews.

The next phases will require ship operators to build the laboratory capacity needed to test passengers for covid-19. Cruise lines will then conduct simulated voyages to test ship operators' "ability to mitigate covid-19." If they pass those tests, ships will then receive certification to resume voyages.