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Carnival forecasts 2020 profit above estimates, shares rise

(Reuters) - Cruise operator Carnival Corp <CCL.N> forecast 2020 profit largely above Wall Street expectations on Friday and posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue, helped by higher on-board spending.

Shares of the Miami-based company, a bellwether for the cruise industry, rose about 5% in early trading.

Carnival expects fiscal 2020 adjusted profit between $4.30 (£3.30) and $4.60 per share, the mid-point of which is above the average analyst estimate of $4.39, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

To lure consumers and increase on-board spending on its luxury liners, Carnival has been adding more attractions such as roller coaster rides, IMAX theaters, water parks and live music to its ships.

These efforts helped the company's net revenue increase 7.3% to $4.78 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $4.57 billion.

Revenue from on-board spending, which accounts for nearly a third of total revenue, rose about 30% to $1.52 billion.

"We overcame a high number of unusual events compounded by a significant downturn in leisure travel demand for our large source markets in Continental Europe," Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said in a statement.

Excluding items, the company earned 62 cents per share. Analysts, on average, had expected a profit of 50 cents per share.


(Reporting by Soundarya J and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)