Sluggish global economy a drag on Singapore Airlines

The poor performance in the second quarter was also due in part to lower dividends from long-term investments and weaker results from associated companies, SIA said yesterday.
The poor performance in the second quarter was also due in part to lower dividends from long-term investments and weaker results from associated companies, SIA said yesterday.ST FILE PHOTO

Carrier also faces intense competition in key markets; profits dive in second quarter

Profits plunged at Singapore Airlines (SIA) in the second quarter amid a sluggish global economy and aggressive competition that continues to put pressure on fares and yields.

Earnings fell by almost 70 per cent to $64.9 million in the three months to Sept 30, from $213.6 million in the same quarter last year. Turnover slid 5.1 per cent to $3.65 billion.

The poor performance was also due in part to lower dividends from long-term investments and weaker results from associated companies, SIA said yesterday.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • REVENUE: $3.65 billion (-5.1%)

    NET PROFIT: $64.9 million (-69.6%)

    DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 9 cents (-10%)

TOUGH CONDITIONS

One cannot understate the structural changes in the market that SIA has had to contend with as well as some hopefully temporary reductions in demand.

MR BRENDAN SOBIE, Centre for Aviation

The situation was less dire at the operating level with profits down by 15.5 per cent to $109 million, as a $174 million fall in expenditure was insufficient to cushion a $194 million reduction in revenue.

SIA and its regional arm SilkAir both recorded weaker operating profits in the second quarter while the group's low-cost arms, Scoot and Tigerair, did better on the back of an extended network and reduced operating expenditure.

The stronger first quarter bolstered half-year numbers, with group profit up 5.6 per cent to $321.5 million compared with the same six months last year.

Operating profit grew 25.8 per cent to $302 million although revenue dipped 3.6 per cent to $7.3 billion. Spending in the six months fell 4.6 per cent to about $7 billion.

The future remains challenging, analysts said. Mr Brendan Sobie from the Centre for Aviation said yesterday: "Competition continues to intensify and some competitors have been very aggressive in key markets. The long-haul market has become particularly challenging with overcapacity and extremely low pricing from South-east Asia to Europe and North America.

"One cannot understate the structural changes in the market that SIA has had to contend with as well as some hopefully temporary reductions in demand."

SIA said in its statement that the business will continue to be impacted by geopolitical uncertainty and weak global economic conditions, with the outlook in most major economies remaining tepid.

The outlook for the cargo business also remains challenging as yields are expected to stay under pressure due to overcapacity in the air cargo industry.

Fuel prices are also expected to remain volatile.

The firm said "the improved operating capability and efficiency of the growing Airbus 350 fleet is enabling the launch of previously unserved new routes, while the deep integration between Scoot and Tigerair continues to provide cost efficiencies and opportunities to enhance network connectivity".

Earnings per share was 5.5 cents for the second quarter, down from 18.3 cents a year earlier, while net asset value per share was $11.20, ahead of the $10.96 as at March 31.

SIA has declared an interim dividend of nine cents a share, one cent down from a year ago.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Sluggish global economy a drag on SIA'. Print Edition | Subscribe