The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya Airways Posts Major Half-Year Loss

National carrier Kenya Airways has posted a loss before tax of 6.5 billion shillings for the half year period ended 30th September 2012. The airline ... ( Resource: Kenya Airways Posts Sh.6.5 Billion Pre Tax Loss

KENYA Airways has been hit hard by Eurozone crisis and a stronger shilling to post a net loss of Sh4.8 billion for first half of the year compared to a profit of Sh2.03 billion over the same period last year.

And to prepare its shareholders for its full year results, the airline has issued a profit warning saying it is impossible to make a complete turnaround in the second half.

The huge loss affected KQ's share price at the Nairobi Securities Exchange with the shares hitting a low of Sh11.80 before closing at Sh12. A total of 436,700 KQ shares were traded.

Announcing the results yesterday, said the firm has issued a profit warning that will cover even the full year results as it will not be possible to make a complete turnaround in the second half.

"We expect to have a better second half but we do also believe that it will not be sufficient to reverse the results of the first half to within at least 25 per cent of last year's earnings," said KQ's group finance director Alex Mbugua when he announced the results yesterday.

In the last financial year, the airline's profits dipped by 53 per cent to Sh1.7 billion from Sh3.5 billion in 2011. The airline which has recently retrenched 599 employees incurred a one off cost of Sh826 million paid out to those that were sacked, further dampening the airline's profit prospects.

It however expects to save Sh1.2 billion annually in reduced staff costs. During the first half for the period ending September 2012, gross profit dropped by 60 per cent to Sh4.6 billion from Sh10.5 last year.

Revenue also reduced by 9.3 per cent to 49.8 billion from Sh54.9 in 2011 attributed to lower number of passengers and a stronger shilling.

Average exchange rate over the period under review was Sh84.05 per dollar against last year's average of Sh87.91. This, the airline said in a statement, depressed turnover by Sh2 million.

Passengers accounted for Sh43.6 billion of the total revenue though it was a drop compared to Sh43.6 billion netted as at September 2011 while cargo accounted for Sh4.9 billion. Europe which has been hit by a financial crisis accounts for 30 per cent of KQ's total revenues.

"Travel advisories as a result of security issues had severe impact on passenger numbers," said Mbugua. KQ chief executive Titus Naikuni said the airline was unable to predict what would happen in the market precisely, before hand.

KQ said it has had to cut back operations through suspension or reduced frequency on the routes that were not performing well like Rome, Muscat, Zanzibar and London. KQ said it had cut back on the London route by stopping the day flight.

"London is a big contributor to our passenger numbers and we are looking at alternative routes within Africa to start feeding into the London route," said Naikuni.

Zanzibar, it said has been hit by decreased tourism activities while Muscat was affected by strong competition from other carriers especially those from the Middle East.

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