Carnival’s Financial Wizardry With Convertible Debt

Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) made some headway on Thursday after the company announced that it had priced a registered direct offering. While the company recently announced it had canceled cruises until January and some even further, this equity offering may keep the cruise line afloat in the meantime.

In terms of the specifics, the company is offering an aggregate of 0.4 million shares of its common stock at a price of $17.59 per share to a limited number of holders of its 5.75% convertible senior notes due 2023.

The company intends to use the proceeds from the offering to repurchase from such holders an aggregate of $90.8 million principal amount of its convertible notes.

It is worth pointing out that this is a little financial wizardry. Normally, holders of convertible notes could convert their notes into shares if the debt is not repaid timely, and ultimately this would dilute all shareholders. Carnival is taking out the middleman by offering the shares itself so it can pay down the debt it owes to the convertible note holders.

On a net basis, the Carnival will not receive any proceeds from the transactions and will pay customary fees and expenses.

The company further noted that this offering will not have a material impact on its cash position. However, at the close of this offering, there will be an aggregate of $536.7 million principal amount of convertible notes outstanding.

Excluding Thursday’s move, Carnival stock had underperformed the broad markets with a retreat of about 65% year to date. In the past 52 weeks, the share price was down closer to 60%.

Carnival stock traded up nearly 1% at $17.74 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $7.80 to $51.94. Analysts have a consensus price target of $16.69.

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