Less than two weeks after selling over 67 million shares under a prior $1 billion stock offering, Carnival (CCL 7.80%) (CUK 7.88%) said Tuesday it would be opening up a new equity offering totaling $1.5 billion.
The cruise ship industry is struggling to remain afloat amid no-sail orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, and though operators will be allowed to return to the high seas soon on a limited basis, the cruise companies have suspended almost all sailing until 2021.
Carnival says the new stock sale would be used for general corporate purposes. In its last quarterly report the cruise line reported it had over $8 billion of cash and equivalents available, but had a cash burn rate of $770 million a month.
However, it expected that to fall to $530 million a month in the fourth quarter, which included $250 million of ship operating costs and other administrative expenses.
The stock offering should allow Carnival to further improve its liquidity position until the industry can get operational again. Yet even if cruise schedules resume right away, the voyages will be a shorter duration, passengers will have to undergo numerous COVID-19 tests, and many of the amenities passengers expect on a cruise will have been eliminated.
Carnival maintains bookings for future cruises remain robust, albeit at depressed levels, but says 60% of new bookings taken during September were new passengers, showing consumer demand persists.
The cruise operator, though, also said over half of the guests it had previously booked on cruises before the pandemic struck have requested refunds rather than credit for future cruises.