Carnival May Sell $1.5 Billion in Stock After Vaccine Rally

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November 10, 2020

The Carnival Valor cruise ship, which is housing crew members only, is docked in its home port of New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

By Jonathan Levin (Bloomberg) –Carnival Corp. filed to sell as much as $1.5 billion in stock, joining at least one other travel-related company in taking advantage of Monday’s rally on hopes for a coronavirus vaccine.

In a supplemental filing Tuesday, the world’s largest cruise company said it would use the at-the-market equity offering program to raise money for general corporate purposes. Carnival recently completed the sale of 67.1 million common shares under a similar program.

The filing comes at an opportune moment: Carnival shares posted their biggest-ever single-day gain Monday after a Covid-19 vaccine candidate from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE prevented more than 90% of symptomatic infections. Cruise companies are trying to convince regulators and consumers that cruising is safe, but the industry may face an uphill battle until a vaccine is widely available.

American Airlines Group Inc. separately priced an offering of about $500 million in common stock at $13 per share, people familiar with the matter said. Like cruising, air travel has been gutted by the pandemic and saw large gains Monday on the vaccine news.

To shore up their coffers amid the pause in operations, cruise companies have already had to sell equity stakes for cheap and pay unusually high interest rates on new debt.

Last month, a conditional order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a pathway for cruise lines to return to U.S. waters. But companies will need to first prove that cruising is safe.

Carnival shares fell as much as 9.3% to $17.46 in New York trading on the prospect that existing equity stakes will get diluted. The stock is down 65% this year.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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