Lufthansa posts strong Q2 results on comparison effects

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German airline Lufthansa on Thursday posted second quarter net profits of more than 300 million euros, a 55.2 percent rise on the same period last year when Iceland's volcanic eruption hit the industry.

Lufthansa reported a net profit of 301 million euros ($432 million) for the three months from April through June, a company statement said.

Operating profit was 44.7 percent higher at 230 million euros, a sum that nonetheless fell well below an average analyst forecast compiled by Dow Jones Newswires of 318 million euros.

Obstacles faced this year included the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, and political unrest in North Africa, the airline noted.

Shares in Lufthansa plunged in early Frankfurt trading, showing a loss of 2.83 percent to 14.065 euros, while the DAX index on which they are listed was 1.07 percent lower overall.

"Lufthansa remains among the profitable airlines in the world even after six months of strong headwinds," finance director Stephan Gemkow was quoted as saying.

The airline expects the situation in Japan to improve but saw additional challenges in high oil prices and "competitive pressure in certain markets."

Charges related to hedging its fuel costs had forced Lufthansa to post a net loss of 507 million euros in the first quarter of the year.

It reiterated Thursday however its full-year forecast for higher sales and operating profit than in 2010, citing "the prospect of a positive development of business during the coming six months."

On Wednesday Lufthansa had reported a net loss of 206 million euros for the first half of 2011 but said it did manage to turn a small operating profit of 3.0 million euros over the period.

The group, which also includes Swiss, Austrian Airlines and BMI, had posted a net loss of 104 million euros in the corresponding period in 2010.

The company's 3.0 million euro operating profit in the first half stood in contrast to an operating loss of 174 million euro a year earlier.

Sales were 14.1 billion euros over the same period, a gain of 11.4 percent.

© 2011 AFP

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