P&O Cruises sells Oceana as owner en­ters choppy wa­ters

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Han­nah Ut­t­ley

P&O Cruises has sold off one of the old­est ships in its fleet as its par­ent com­pany Car­ni­val scram­bles to shore up cash.

The group con­firmed yes­ter­day that it would off­load the Oceana ves­sel, which has a mar­ket value of $164m (£131m) and a scrap value of $9.14m, ac­cord­ing to data from on­line val­u­a­tion firm Ves­sel­sValue.

The sale comes just weeks af­ter Car­ni­val racked up losses of $4.4bn be­tween March and May as the coro­n­avirus out­break caused book­ings to dry up and sales to slump to $700m from $4.8bn a year ear­lier.

It also suf­fered a num­ber of se­vere cases of the virus on its ships, forc­ing many of its ves­sels to re­main off­shore for an ex­tended pe­riod, with crew still on board.

Car­ni­val said last month that it planned to sell off six ships. Shares in the com­pany, which is due to up­date the mar­ket on its sec­ond quar­ter later this week, are down by more than 70pc this year.

P&O re­fused to re­veal de­tails of the trans­ac­tion but in­dus­try trade pub­li­ca­tion TradeWinds re­ported that the ship had been ac­quired by Greek buy­ers.

Paul Lud­low, pres­i­dent of P&O Cruises, said all guests who had booked a hol­i­day on Oceana would be of­fered a 125pc fu­ture cruise credit or a re­fund.

“While we and many of our guests will miss Oceana, her de­par­ture will al­low us to fo­cus on our re­main­ing ships in the fleet, as ca­pac­ity ex­pands with the de­liv­ery of Iona later this year fol­lowed by her sis­ter ship, sched­uled for 2022,” he said.

“Dur­ing this pause in our op­er­a­tions, we need to fit the fleet for the fu­ture and en­sure we have the right mix of ships once we re­sume sail­ing.

“I am so sorry to dis­ap­point those guests who were booked on Oceana but I hope they will be able to find a sim­i­lar al­ter­na­tive hol­i­day, whether that is ex-UK from Southamp­ton or a fly/cruise itin­er­ary.”

Oceana, one of the old­est ships in the P&O Cruises fleet, has been sold as par­ent com­pany Car­ni­val aims to raise cash af­ter losses

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