Arison to net £350m from Carnival shares

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The American family that controls Carnival yesterday revealed plans to slash its shareholding in the US-based cruise ship giant that merged with P&O Princess earlier this year.

The American family that controls Carnival yesterday revealed plans to slash its shareholding in the US-based cruise ship giant that merged with P&O Princess earlier this year.

The Arison family intends to sell 4 per cent of its stake in a move that will net Micky Arison, the chairman and chief executive, more than £350m. News of the impending share sale unsettled the market, sending the stock, which is also listed in New York, down 61p to 2,084p.

The family said it planned to sell up to 32 million shares on the open market over the next two years, cutting its stake to 31 per cent of the company's total voting rights.

The Arisons were guarded over their plans for the cash, saying only that they were selling for "tax planning, estate planning and diversification purposes". Some of the stake will be sold by a charitable trust set up by members of the Arison clan, also for "tax related reasons", a brief statement issued by the company disclosed.

The company, founded in 1972 by the late Ted Arison, owns 70 ships and 13 cruise brands across North America, Europe and Australia, including the US-based Princess Cruises and QEII-owner Cunard in the UK. It emerged victorious after an 18-month bid battle to acquire P&O Princess for £3.5bn, breaking up a previously agreed merger between the UK group and Royal Caribbean.

Like its peers across the tourism industry, Carnival has suffered from the double onslaught of a weak global economy and the effects of war in Iraq. The company warned in June that profit in the second half would be less than previously expected after weak demand forced it to cut prices to woo holidaymakers.

After the sale, the Arisons will own 246 million shares in the dual-listed company.

Comments