easyJet says annual net profits soar 86%

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British no-frills airline easyJet said on Tuesday that its annual net profits had surged 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 30, which compared with net income of £121 million during its previous financial year.

Revenues jumped 16.1 percent to £3.45 billion as passenger numbers rose 11.8 percent to 54.5 million during the reporting period, the airline added in an earnings statement.

The carrier also announced that it had agreed to pay a first-ever dividend of 45.4 pence per share, or a total of £195 million, following a demand by the airline's founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

"easyJet has made great progress this year," the company's chief executive Carolyn McCall said in the release.

"Despite the headwinds of higher fuel costs and a weak and uncertain economic outlook ... easyJet is well placed to succeed" going forward, she added.

© 2011 AFP

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