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Coronavirus: Carnival Cruises pitches to Trump to turn its ships into floating hospitals as it posts $781m loss

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
The Carnival Corp. Grand Princess cruise ship sits docked at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California, US. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

One of the world’s largest cruise operators, Carnival Cruises (CCL.L), posted a $781m (£658m) loss in the first quarter of 2020 after being smashed by the coronavirus pandemic like the rest of the travel industry.

This follows its offer to US president Donald Trump on 19 March to turn its ships into a fleet of floating hospitals. Trump said the offer came from a conversation with Carnival chairman Micky Arison and the idea would mean it frees up beds from in-land hospitals for those recovering from surgeries or for patients being treated for normal hospital stays.

Carnival said if its ships did turn into floating hospitals, they would not be used for treating those with coronavirus or who are under quarantine.

Some 244,523 people across the world have been confirmed of contracting the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. It also confirmed that the number of people who have died has passed the 10,000 mark.

Carnival Cruises said in its first quarter results statement that the impact of Covid-19 is approximately $0.23 per share, which includes cancelled voyages and other voyage disruptions, and excludes the impairment charges. It said that total sales for the first quarter of 2020 were actually up on the year, before the pandemic impacted the company, coming in at $4.8bn, up from $4.7bn in the previous year.

“The corporation previously announced a voluntary, temporary pause of its global fleet operations across all brands.

“The corporation believes the ongoing effects of Covid-19 on its operations and global bookings will have a material negative impact on its financial results and liquidity. The corporation also believes the effects of Covid-19 on the shipyards where its ships are under construction, will result in a delay in ship deliveries. The corporation is taking additional actions to improve its liquidity, including capital expenditure and expense reductions, and pursuing additional financing.”

It added that due to the uncertain nature of development, the group is unable to provide an earnings forecast for the fiscal year, which ends 30 November.

However, shares rose in early trading on the London Stock Exchange after US president Donald Trump confirmed that Carnival Cruises offered up its fleet as floating hospitals to help fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Chart: Yahoo Finance