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Cunard Operations to Pull Up Anchor, Head for Southland

July 17, 2004|Dawn Wotapka | Times Staff Writer

Cruise behemoth Carnival Corp. will relocate its upscale Cunard line from Miami to Santa Clarita this year, the company said Friday.

Cunard will share administrative and technology functions with Carnival's Princess Cruises unit, which is already based in Santa Clarita. The move will save the world's largest cruise company about $20 million the first year, Carnival said.

About 180 of Cunard's 300 employees will be let go. Fifty will be reassigned in Florida, and 70 positions will be moved to Santa Clarita, said Julie Benson, a spokeswoman for Princess Cruises.

"Clearly there's space for some people who are interested in coming," she said. "We would hope that many of the positions will be filled by Cunard staff."

Seabourn Cruise Line, which shares offices with Cunard in Miami, will stay in Florida.

Carnival owns 12 cruise lines. In 1998, it acquired Cunard, which runs the Queen Mary 2, said to be the most expensive ship ever built.

Carnival and P&O Princess merged last year. Since then, Carnival has sought to reduce costs. The Cunard relocation is "one more step in that direction," Benson said. The move is expected to cost $10 million to $15 million in one-time expenses.

For the six months ending May 31, Carnival's net income was $535 million, compared with $255 million for the same period a year earlier.

Carnival's shares Friday slid 13 cents to $45.68 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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