Ryanair annual earnings top forecasts

Ryanair annual earnings top forecasts

DUBLIN - Reuters
Ryanair annual earnings top forecasts

Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary attends a news conference in this file photo. REUTERS photo

Ryanair posted forecast-beating full-year earnings today, buoyed by strong growth in fares and a sharp rise in charges for items such as baggage and in-flight refreshments.

Shares in Europe’s largest budget airline jumped more than 6 percent to a record high of 6.764 euros.

The company warned profit growth may slow sharply in the coming 12 months as it waits for new plane deliveries and margins are squeezed by higher fuel costs and cash-strapped consumers.

Yet its cautious outlook was offset by a strong performance in the past year, buoyed by a 6 percent increase in average fares as capacity growth in Europe stalled, while non-ticket income from extras such as baggage and reserved seating, which account for around one-fifth of revenue, was up by 20 percent.

Net profit reached 569 million euros ($730 million) in the 12 months to the end of March, up 13 percent and ahead of an average analyst forecast of 558 million in a company poll.

Ryanair Chief Financial Officer Howard Millar said the company was making a cautious forecast for the current year due to poor visibility on bookings in the second half of the year. The group warned that profit growth could stall in the year ahead, seeing profit at between 570 million euros and 600 million.