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On a day when individual stocks were getting slammed at the mercy of Europe's financial negotiations with Greece, Jim Cramer thought this would be a good time to highlight an individual company that has managed to take its own destiny into its hands.
The "Mad Money" host considers the amazing story of Carnival to be one of the most impressive turnaround stories of our era. As the world's largest cruise line, it has suffered several public-relations nightmares in the past few years: The "Costa Concordia" tragedy in 2012, The "Triumph" incident where one of the engine rooms caught fire, and the Ebola scare aboard one of their ships in October.
Yet despite these issues, Carnival is still going strong. It has taken the bull by the horns in repairing its image, for example by launching a social impact cruise line where volunteers can take vacation and serve communities in need at the same time.
At the end of March, Carnival delivered a better-than-expected quarter, and the stock currently trades at only $2 off its 52-week high.
How the heck did Carnival pull off such an impressive turnaround? To get the inside scoop, Cramer sat down with Carnival CEO Arnold Donald.
"Very simply, we started with a great company, so we had a fantastic foundation," Donald said.
The key, he says, was aligning the nine brands that they had at the time around the same common objectives. Then, the brands had to communicate, collaborate and coordinate with one another.
However, the biggest task at hand was to change the image of cruising. Additionally, Donald was able to use coordinated buying power to cut costs dramatically while raising ticket prices. The holy grail of investing!
How did he do it?
"Frankly, just give the guests what they want. They're on vacation, if you give them what they want on-board, they'll buy it. So, we just have to understand our guests, and that's back to your data mining, your big-data conversation and the market segmentation work that we are doing," he added.
The CEO also pointed out that Carnival has managed to reduce fuel consumption by 25 percent since 2007 by taking steps such as installing fuel conserving LED lightning and fine tuning engines for fuel efficiency.
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Still, the company faces challenges. As fuel prices fell, the company was hit with the strong dollar. Geopolitical tensions also play a role, as they restrict locations where Carnival can travel.
"Despite that, our task, our mission, is double-digit returns in invested capital in the next three to four years," the CEO said.