Etihad profit soars 48pc on expansion
Abu Dhabi, March 3, 2014
Etihad Airways posted a 48 percent leap in 2013 profit on Monday and predicted more growth this year, as the fast-expanding Abu Dhabi airline aims to develop its alliance network with a potential investment in Alitalia.
Etihad, which has minority stakes in seven airlines including Air Berlin and Virgin Australia, earned a net profit of $62 million last year, up from $42 million in 2012.
Revenue rose 27 percent in 2013 to $6.1 billion, the state-owned carrier said in a statement. The 10-year-old airline, which carried nearly 12 million passengers last year, made its first profit in 2011.
Unlisted Etihad has been on an acquisition drive in recent months, taking minority equity stakes in Virgin Australia and Ireland's Aer Lingus and raising its shareholding in Air Berlin and Air Seychelles.
Etihad is now in the final phase of due diligence on its possible investment in Italian carrier Alitalia, Hogan said.
Speaking to reporters, he also said that for an investment to take place, Etihad would have to be convinced that Alitalia could be moved to profitability.
Talks between the airlines intensified last month and sources close to the matter said Etihad might be interested in buying a stake of up to 40 percent in the Italian carrier.
Asked how confident he was at this stage of the deal going through, Hogan said: "It's 50-50." He added that the talks could go either way. "We had also entered into due diligence with other airlines in the past and walked away."
Hogan said the deal could only go ahead if Alitalia met Etihad's criteria on costs, profitability, restructuring, the airline's network and strong management. He did not provide further details.
"The commercial mandate I have is to maintain profitability," Etihad's chief executive James Hogan said in an interview on announcing the results.
"I have a profit target for 2014 - it will be greater than 2013 and will meet my objectives."
He added that in 2014, the airline's turnover would rise above $7 billion.
Revenue from its partnerships with other carriers rose 30 percent to $820 million last year, representing 21 percent of passenger revenues, Etihad said.
Its cargo revenues were up 30 percent to $928 million as volume climbed to 486,753 tonnes from 367,837 tonnes.
The airline said it raised $2.14 billion of funds on the commercial markets in 2013, primarily for fleet development.
In 2014, Etihad will receive 18 new aircraft, including its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and its first Airbus A380 super jumbo, both of which are scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter. - Reuters