easyJet profit soars 86%, pays first dividend
British no-frills airline easyJet said on Tuesday that its annual net profit soared 86 percent and announced its first dividend payout, 11 years after launching on the stock market.
easyJet unveiled profits after tax of £225 million (263 million euros, $357 million) for the 12 months to September, up from £121 million in its previous financial year.
Revenues jumped 16.1 percent to £3.45 billion as passenger numbers rose 11.8 percent to 54.5 million, it said in an earnings statement. easyJet said fuel costs rose by £100 million.
The carrier also announced that it would pay a first-ever dividend of 45.4 pence per share, or a total of £195 million, following demands by the airline's founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
The payout was slightly higher than expected.
"easyJet has made great progress this year," chief executive Carolyn McCall said in the statement.
"Despite the headwinds of higher fuel costs and a weak and uncertain economic outlook ... easyJet is well placed to succeed" going forward, she said after the group announced record pre-tax profits of £248 million.
easyJet said that 45 percent of seats allocated for its upcoming winter trading period had already been booked but warned that weak consumer confidence in Europe would slow the rate at which higher fuel costs could be passed on.
"The macro-economic environment remains challenging for all airlines as weak consumer confidence across Europe slows the rate at which higher fuel prices and increased taxation can be passed onto passengers," easyJet said.
© 2011 AFP