12 August 2009
PETALING JAYA: Low-fare carrier AirAsia Bhd posted a net profit of RM139.2mil in the second quarter ended June 30 compared with RM9.4mil in the previous corresponding period.
This was achieved on the back of higher passenger volume, better contribution from ancillary income as well as write-back on certain over provisions made previously.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the airline said turnover in the same quarter rose 8% to RM657.4mil against RM608.4mil a year ago while earnings per share improved to 5.9 sen from 0.4 sen previously.
AirAsia’s core operating profit was a whopping 328% jump to RM128mil versus RM30mil in the second quarter last year. Core operating profit margins stood at 19.5% for the period, compared with 4.9% achieved in 2008.
The improvement was attributable to stronger ringgit against the US dollar, which led to a translation gain of RM12mil.
This, however, was partly offset by the non-recurring item related to the cost of unwinding derivative structures and disposal of assets during the quarter, which amounted to over RM6mil.
Passenger volume surged 24% in the second quarter from the year before, although average fare was lower by 19% at RM160 versus RM198 in the same period last year. Load factor was constant at 75% as a year ago.
The carrier said its strategy to continuously conduct aggressive promotions, remove administrative fees from ticket prices and enhance customer service had driven the strong traffic growth.
“The group continues to expand market share as more people switch from full-service carriers and fly with AirAsia,” it said.
AirAsia said based on the current forward booking trend, the underlying passenger demand for the third quarter was still positive.
“The group is purchasing fuel on the spot market. All other cost items are expected to remain low due to efficiency initiatives implemented and benefits of economies of scale,” it said.
It cautioned that the local currency had weakened against the greenback since end-June and if this were to continue, it might impact the company negatively.
While AirAsia remained optimistic of the prospect for the third quarter, it noted that the period was also seasonally weakest due to the fasting month.
Elsewhere, Thailand’s outlook was positive for the third quarter, with the number of passenger growth satisfactory and the operation had continued to gain market share.
AirAsia’s Thai operations enjoyed the cost benefits of the increased number of Airbus A320 planes while in Indonesia, the outlook was positive with strong passenger growth.
“The Bali-to-Perth route, which was launched in July, is enjoying strong support and the frequency has been increased from once daily to twice daily,” AirAsia said.
An aviation analyst said the results were above his core net profit forecast, mainly due to better load factor and higher ancillary income.
In a separate announcement, CIMB Investment Bank, on behalf of AirAsia, said the exchange had approved the listing of 481.1 million AirAsia shares, which arose from the proposed private placement, subject to compliance of certain conditions and regulations.