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Air New Zealand posts record interim profit

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Air New Zealand unveiled a record interim net profit Thursday, saying falling fuel prices and surging passenger demand were also set to produce a strong full-year result.

[WELLINGTON] Air New Zealand unveiled a record interim net profit on Thursday, saying falling fuel prices and surging passenger demand were also set to produce a strong full-year result.

The flag carrier said net profit for the six months to December 31 was NZ$338 million (S$316 million), up 154 per cent on the same period a year ago.

The result was more than double Air New Zealand's previous half-year record of NZ$140 million, posted in 2014, and chairman Tony Carter described it as a "stellar" outcome.

"Based upon current market conditions and assuming current fuel prices and foreign exchange rates, the airline is targeting earnings before taxation for the full-year 2016 to exceed NZ$800 million," he said.

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The carrier said fuel prices fell 44 per cent over the reporting period, while demand was up 17 per cent. As a result, operating revenue rose 12 per cent to NZ$2.7 billion and earnings increased 132 per cent to NZ$457 million.

Revenues increased across all the company's divisions, with long-haul passenger services the standout performer, up 24 per cent as a stronger US dollar boosted New Zealand's pull as a tourist destination.

Air New Zealand said it was increasing its interim dividend 54 per cent to 10.0 cents a share.

The announcement was made before the opening bell on the New Zealand stock exchange, where the airline closed on Wednesday up 2.69 per cent at NZ$2.865.

AFP

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