Ryanair’s full year profit rises 204% to €319m

Ryanair has announced full year profits to 31 March 2010 of €319 million after tax – an increase of 204% over last year’s €105 million profit – based on revenues of €2,988 million.

The airline also proposes to pay a one-off dividend of €500 million (€0.34 per share) in October, subject to shareholder approval at its September AGM.

Announcing the results Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, commented, “We can be proud of delivering a 200% increase in profits and traffic growth during a global recession, when many of our competitors have announced losses or cutbacks, while more have gone bankrupt including Bluewings, Globespan, MyAir, Segal Air and SkyEurope. Revenues rose 2% to €2,988 million as air fares fell 13%, while traffic grew 14% to 67 million. Unit costs fell 19% due to lower fuel and rigorous cost control. Ancillary sales grew 11% to €664 million slightly slower than traffic growth, and amounted to 22% of total revenues.

“Fuel costs declined 29% to €894 million as oil prices fell from $104 to $62 per barrel. We extended our hedging programme to 90% for FY11 (at $730 per tonne), 50% of Q1 FY12 (at $750 per tonne) and 20% of Q2 FY12 (at $750 per tonne). Excluding fuel other unit costs fell by 3%.

“Capacity cuts by many European flag and non-flag carriers caused traffic to fall at many major European airports. We are inundated with offers from large and small airports competing with lower costs and efficient facilities to win Ryanair’s growth,” O’Leary continued. “Our airport and handling unit costs fell by 9% despite steep increases at Dublin and Stansted. New routes and bases launched this year will ensure that despite a scandalous up-to-40% increase in charges at Dublin airport, our airport and handling unit costs will decline again in FY11.

“The balance sheet has strengthened as cash has risen by €535 million to €2.8 billion. We took advantage of recent historically low rates to lock in many of our 2009/2010 deliveries at an all inclusive long term interest cost of under 4% p.a. We are fully financed for the remaining 34 deliveries out to January 2011.

“In December 2009 we ended our discussions for a 200 new Boeing aircraft order. Since we don’t anticipate a new deal with Boeing for the foreseeable future, our gross capex will fall substantially over the next three years. We expect to generate up to €1 billion in surplus cash by the end of FY13. We now propose to return €500 million of this cash in a one-off dividend in October 2010 subject to shareholder approval at our September AGM. We also anticipate that there may be a further €500 million (absent any new aircraft orders or other capex) available for return to shareholders either via share buy-backs or another one-off dividend by the end of FY13.

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