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Air New Zealand announces bumper annual profit

Air New Zealand posted a 45 percent rise in annual net profit on Wednesday (Aug 27), and predicted more strong growth in the current financial year amid rising demand and easing fuel prices.

WELLINGTON: Air New Zealand posted a 45 percent rise in annual net profit on Wednesday (Aug 27), and predicted more strong growth in the current financial year amid rising demand and easing fuel prices.

The airline said net profit for the 12 months to June 30 was NZ$262 million (S$272 million, US$218 million), up from NZ$181 million (S$188 million) a year earlier.

In an often volatile industry, chairman Tony Carter said Air New Zealand had achieved its third consecutive year of growth, demonstrating that the carrier "continues to be a world-leading airline, both in terms of customer experience and financial performance".

"Based on our current expectations of market demand and fuel prices, we expect to improve on the 2014 result in the coming year," he said.

Underlying the airline's confidence, it placed a US$1.5 billion (S$1.8 billion) order for 14 medium-range Airbus planes in June. Carter said the arrival of new aircraft would significantly boost Air New Zealand's capacity.

The airline's operating revenue rose one percent to NZ$4.7 billion (S$4.89 billion), earnings before tax were up 30 percent at NZ$332 million (S$345 million), and the board declared a final dividend of 5.5 cents a share, as well as a special dividend of 10 cents a share.

The announcement was made before trading started on the New Zealand stock exchange, where Air New Zealand shares last traded at NZ$2.15 (S$2.23).