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Carnival Destiny refit is welcome relief for Costa, Fincantieri

Foschi - Refit order confirms Carnival group's value to Italy's economy
The news that Carnival has awarded Fincantieri a $155m refurbishment contract for Carnival Destiny was greeted with relief at the Italian shipbuilder, which has been struggling desperately to fill its yards, but also at Carnival-owned Costa Crociere, where harried executives were quick to describe the deal as evidence of the company’s value to the Italian economy.

Costa has come under withering pressure since Costa Concordia hit the rocks off Giglio on Jan. 13 with the loss of 32 passengers and crew. Indeed, the criticism has been such that chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi has openly questioned the future of what has long been one of Italy’s most successful and respected brands. Last week’s misadventures aboard Costa Allegra, with an engine room fire leaving it adrift for days in the Indian Ocean, only further sullied the company’s previously pristine reputation.

In that context, the latest order, which will see Carnival Destiny substantially refurbished early next year and renamed Carnival Sunshine, provides Costa with the perfect opportunity to remind Italians of the company’s importance to the national economy. Indeed, there is speculation that Costa’s difficulties, particularly in its home market, made it considerably more likely that the order went to an Italian yard.

In arguing Costa’s case, Foschi noted that: ‘The refurbishment awarded today confirms that Carnival is one of the largest, if not the largest, foreign company investing in Italy. The investments made by Costa and other group companies have generated a substantial positive impact on the Italian economy in recent years, creating work for thousands of people and hundreds of Italian companies.’

A grateful Giuseppe Bono, chief executive at Fincantieri, which has been increasingly desperate for new orders, was similarly fulsome. He said the Destiny work ‘confirms our strategy of developing the activities of the refitting and refurbishment departments to position us for continued expansion.’ Stressing the company’s lengthy relationship with Carnival, for which it is all but the house shipbuilder, Bono noted that Destiny was built by Fincantieri and became the prototype ‘for another 20 ships that we created and produced later on.’

In a lengthy paean to Carnival’s contribution to the company’s success, and so to the Italian economy, Bono said its orders had helped turn Fincantieri into the world’s leading cruise shipbuilder with a direct and indirect workforce of more than 30,000 people and a dense web of specialised subcontractors. ‘Carnival’s investments are even more important for the country because they translate into work for Italy,’ he said.