EasyJet expected to announce first-half profit

EasyJet expected to announce first-half profit

EasyJet is being tipped to post a profit tomorrow (Tuesday) in what is traditionally a loss-making winter half-year period.

The budget airline recently forecast that its result for the six months to March 31 would be somewhere between a loss of £5 million and profit of £10 million due to rising passenger numbers and revenues.

Analysts are suggesting the carrier will make a £7.5 million profit against a £53 million loss a year ago. This would be the first time a profit has been recorded in the first half since 2002.

EasyJet had previously forecast a 2014-15 first half loss of between £10 million and £30 million.

Investment bank Numis, reported by the Mail on Sunday, pointed to the fall in the price of aviation fuel as saving easyJet £35 million compared with the same period last year.

Liberum analyst Gerald Khoo is quoted by various regional newspapers this morning as saying: "The improvement in management's guidance for the first half result was widely expected but reassuring nonetheless."

The airline recently carried 6.01 million passengers in April, up 3.8% on a year ago.

However, the carrier has warned it could be hit by volatile exchange rates and oil prices in the coming months.

The airline said the impact of exchange rate movements would boost its bottom line by £20 million for the first half, but result in a £40 million hit in the final six months of the year.

The price of oil has fallen by half since last summer, pushed down by oversupply and falling demand from slowing emerging economies.

But geo-political uncertainty in the Middle East has spiked the price in recent months towards $70.

The airline warned in March that ''further volatility around currency rates and the oil price is likely to continue into the second half''.

At the time Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, said easyJet ''continues to be a compelling proposition for both customers and investors alike, with an improved profit guidance figure providing some solace in the currently volatile environment''.

He added: ''Less positively, concerns on the investment case tend to be sector wide rather than stock specific, such as heightening geopolitical concerns, volatile oil price and currency impacts, increased regulatory overhang and airport charges, although there was a slight uptick in cost per seat.''

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