Ryanair hikes profit forecast to €850m for year
RYANAIR has raised its profit guidance for the year to a range of €840m to €850m from €810m to €830m and said it will pay a special €512m dividend later this month.
"These strong results confirm that our “Always Getting Better” customer programme and our expanded business schedules, coupled with our substantial fare and cost advantage over competitor airlines is drawing millions of new customers to Ryanair," said chief executive Michael O'Leary.
In light of improved cashflow and profitability at the airline, it also announced a €400m share buyback programme subject to market conditions.
Net profit for the third quarter was €49m, up €84m from loss of €35m in the same period last year.
Traffic was up 14pc while the load factor was also 6pc higher.
The company's balance sheet "remains one of the strongest in the industry with gross cash of €4.1bn and a net cash balance of €447m," the airline added.
Ryanair also noted the IAG bid for Aer Lingus. However, it said it would not be commenting further as it had not received an official approach in connection with its 29.9pc shareholding in Aer Lingus.
Mr O'Leary told Newstalk this morning that the controversial Heathrow landing slots are largely irrelevant although he also said it would be better to see Aer Lingus in Irish hands.
"It is open to us to consider a fourth bid," he added.
Shares in Ryanair were down slightly this morning.
The airline cautioned that profit growth will be modest next year as cheaper oil prices/fuel push fares down.
It also said it will only benefit slightly from lower jet fuel costs this year as it has hedged 90pc of March 2016 fuel needs at $92 a barrel - roughly double the current price.