1.03.2015

Qantas posts best half-year profit in four years



Australia's national carrier Qantas has reported its best half-year profit in four years, as turnaround plans come to fruition.On Thursday, the firm reported an underlying profit of 367m Australian dollars ($289.3m; £186.3m) for the six months to December.The positive results come after the firm reported its biggest ever annual loss for the 12 months to June 2014.Shares in the Sydney-listed airline rose more than 6% following the news. The national flag carrier has been facing tough competition in both international and domestic markets.The carrier's international division turned a profit for the first time since the global financial crisis, posting an underlying profit before tax of A$59m.In the domestic market, Qantas and Jetstar, the company's low-cost arm, reported earnings before tax of close to A$300m.Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the firm was "meeting or exceeding all our targets as we build a sustainable future".Thursday's results beat the carrier's own forecast, made in December, for an underlying profit of up to A$350m.The carrier said some of the main factors that had contributed to its half-year results included the removal of Australia's carbon tax together with lower fuel prices.But it also attributed some A$374m of benefits to its turnaround efforts.In 2013, the company announced a massive cost cutting programme that would include some 5,000 job losses.It said it would now target A$675m of benefits from that programme, an increase from its earlier target of A$600m.Total benefits, including A$204m realised in its 2014 financial year, would now reach A$875m by the end of June this year, the carrier said in a statement."Our financial position is significantly stronger because of the actions we've taken," Mr Joyce said, "and we are giving Qantas a solid foundation for growth in earnings." 


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