L'article d'Airwise (Reuters),
HK$ = environ 0,10 €
March 11, 2009
Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong's dominant airline, on Wednesday posted a bigger-than-expected USD$1 billion second-half net loss, a record, and warned that the year ahead will be "extremely challenging."
"Passenger and cargo demand are expected to remain weak and, if fuel prices remain at their present
levels, further losses on fuel hedging contracts will be incurred," Chairman Christopher Pratt said in a statement.
Cathay, Asia's fifth-largest airline by market value, said unrealised mark-to-market losses on
fuel hedging was HKD$1.9 billion as of the end of February compared with HKD$7.6 billion for the whole of 2008.
But if the annual average price of Brent crude oil over each of the next three years is about USD$75 per
barrel, there will be no further net cash impact and mark-to-market losses recognised in 2008 would then be released in subsequent periods, Pratt said.
ICE Brent crude oil futures rose 0.57 percent on Wednesday to USD$44.21 a barrel.
Cathay reported a HKD$7.9 billion (USD$1.02 billion) net loss in the July-December period, based on previously reported figures. That compared with a net profit of HKD$4.4 billion in the same period a year ago.
For the full year, Cathay posted a record net loss of HKD$8.6 billion, its first shortfall in a decade, compared with a net profit of HKD$7.02 billion in 2007.
Cathay's results followed news that Singapore Airlines has asked staff to take unpaid leave for up to two
years in a bid to reduce costs, and Japan Airlines plans to cut annual procurement costs.
Cathay -- which had always been among the world's most profitable airlines and is controlled by Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific -- saw its fortunes take a turn for the worse in 2008, as volatile oil prices and a gloomy economic climate weighed on earnings.
The carrier, like many of its peers, had not anticipated the substantial reduction in oil prices that started in the second half of last year and had locked in supply contracts when fuel prices were higher.
Demand growth was weak last year. Cathay said its passenger load factor fell one percentage point in 2008 to 78.8 percent, while its cargo load factor was down 0.8 point at 65.9 percent.
Revenues rose 14.9 percent to HKD$86.6 billion last year.
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