Cathay Pacific expects to almost triple profit this year

17:09 | 15/11/2010

Cathay Pacific said Monday that it expects to nearly triple its full-year profit as the carrier bounces back from the global financial crisis.

The Hong Kong-based airline said strong demand for passenger and cargo services meant that its 2010 earnings "will not be less" than 12.5 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.6 billion) this year.

The airline booked a 4.69 billion Hong Kong dollar profit in 2009.

Cathay's forecast includes a 2.16 billion Hong Kong dollar profit from two asset sales and a fine of 57.1 million euros ($78 million) imposed on the airline last week by Europe's competition watchdog.

The European Commission ruled that 11 carriers including Cathay had operated a global cargo business cartel and slapped them with a total fine of almost 800 million euros.

"We are expecting an outstanding financial result following a very difficult period brought about by the global financial crisis," chief executive Tony Tyler said in a statement posted to the Hong Kong stock exchange Monday.

"We are of course delighted to be so handsomely in the black, but the dramatic turnaround in our fortunes serves to illustrate yet again the volatile and cyclical nature of our business."

In August the carrier said its net profit for the first half of 2010 soared eight-fold to 6.84 billion Hong Kong dollars, while revenues during the same period rose 33.7 per cent to 41.34 billion Hong Kong dollars.

Cathay suffered a record 8.69 billion Hong Kong dollar loss in 2008 when the global economic downturn hammered the airline industry.

The announcement came after markets closed with Cathay shares down 0.2 per cent on Monday to 22.05 Hong Kong dollars.

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