Cathay Pacific net profit jumps 90.5% on low oil prices, strong demand

Cathay Pacific Airways planes parked at the Hong Kong Airport terminal on March 7, 2016.
Cathay Pacific Airways planes parked at the Hong Kong Airport terminal on March 7, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Cathay Pacific Airways reported on Wednesday (Match 9) a more than 90 per cent surge in net profit for 2015, beating estimates, as record low crude oil prices and a higher contribution from its affiliate Air China boosted income.

Cathay said annual net profit was HK$6 billion (S$1.07 billion), slightly higher than the HK$5.7 billion estimate of 16 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate.

In its earnings statement, Cathay said contributions from its partners had improved, without giving details. The plunge in crude oil prices also helped reduce fuel costs by 37.8 per cent from a year ago, it added.

Air China, in which Cathay owns about a third, said in January it expects its annual net profit to rise by up to 80 per cent as demand for air travel from China soars.

"The operating environment was better in 2015 than in 2014, but we faced some significant challenges which we expect to continue in 2016," said Cathay chairman John Slosar.

The airline said cargo revenue fell 9 per cent to HK$23 billion, and forecast demand to remain low in 2016 due to industry overcapacity.

Cathay's share price rose 3.14 per cent to HK$13.8 on Wednesday after the earnings announcement, outperforming a 0.43 per cent slip of the benchmark Hang Seng Index.