Carnival cruise operator sees profits beat expectations

Giglio Port
Image caption More than 30 people died when the Costa Concordia ran aground in January this year

Cruise ship operator Carnival has reported profits that beat analysts' expectations, sending shares higher.

Carnival had said in March that the sinking of its Costa Concordia cruises ship in January could wipe out profits this year as people shunned cruises.

However, on Tuesday the firm reported that profits were $1.33bn (£819m) in the third quarter, compared with $1.34bn in the same period last year.

Shares in the firm in New York rose more than 3%.

Thirty-two people died in the shipwreck in January, which an official report blamed the captain of the Costa Concordia for causing, as well as assigning some responsibility to Costa, which is owned by Carnival.

The Costa Concordia still lies next to the rocky outcrops off Giglio Island in Italy's Tuscan coast.

Emerging markets

Carnival said it had managed to generate more money from its cruise passengers.

"The significant efforts of our brand management teams were successful in partially mitigating the decline in cruise ticket prices," said chairman and chief executive Micky Arison.

The company also plans to focus on emerging markets.

"For 2013, the company will capitalise on the increasing popularity of cruising in Asia with the deployment of a second Costa ship in China and the launch of a new Princess Cruises program for the Japanese market," it said.

Costa Cruises is a subsidiary of Carnival and runs some of the company's total fleet of 100 ships. Other brands include Carnival, P&O, Cunard, Holland America, Princess and Seabourn.

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