Ryanair profits doubles, announces share buyback programme; Iran Air adds ATRs to its bumper aircraft order

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore February 1, 2016 22:27

Ryanair profits doubles, announces share buyback programme; Iran Air adds ATRs to its bumper aircraft order

Ryanair’s pretax profits rose 110% during the third quarter from €49 million to €103 million, while revenue was up 17% from €1.13 billion to €1.33 billion. Passenger traffic jumped 20% to 25 million during the reporting period. Ryanair has announced an €800 million share buyback programme.

Following the completion of this latest buy-back programme, Ryanair will have returned in excess of €4 billion to shareholders since 2008. The airline is bullish on future performance, expecting its full-year traffic numbers to reach 106 million from a previously guided 105 million – this is a 17% increase on the 90.6 million customers recorded during 2014. The airline expects full-year net profits to be towards the upper end of the €1.175 billion and €1.225 billion range.

Ryanair expects its fourth quarter traffic to increase by 26%.

“We are pleased to report that our low fares policy delivered strong third quarter traffic and profit growth. It is clear that millions of new customers are switching to Ryanair for our “load factor active/yield passive” pricing, our expanding route network and the success of our Always Getting Better customer experience programme,” said chief executive Michael O’Leary.

Like other airlines, Ryanair noted “weaker pricing and bookings immediately after the terrorist events in Paris and Brussels”, which was countered by “running price promotions and discounted fares to stimulate double digit traffic growth. While average fares fell 1 per cent, this was offset by lower unit costs,” added O’Leary.

And despite the significant share buyback scheme announced today, Ryanair expects to “continue to have a significant net cash balance sheet. We are likely to broadly maintain our forecasts at current levels and retain our €16.50 price target,” it said.

Adding to its bumper Airbus order of last week, Iran Air has signed a deal for 40 ATR 72-600s – 20 firm orders plus 20 options – which is valued at €1 billion.

The signature of the deal follows the commercial discussions held in the last days in Rome and Paris, on the occasion of the visit of the President of Iran, H.E. Mr. Hassan Rohani, and the Minister of Transportation of Iran, Mr. Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi.
During the negotiations, the Italian and French states played an important role to achieve the signing of this deal, through the participation of their export credit agencies, respectively Sace and Coface.

The deal marks the arrival of the newest generation ATRs in Iran, where the first aircraft have been operating since 1992.

Patrick de Castelbajac, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, declared: “We are honored to take part in this new era in Iran by providing the national airline with aircraft that will strongly contribute to reinforce and boost regional transportation across the country. We are pleased to offer to the passengers of Iran Air the highest standards of comfort and reliability, as well as the outstanding operational flexibility of the ATR 72-600s”.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore February 1, 2016 22:27