26 October 2009

Lan Profit Falls 37% on Lower Sales, Fuel Hedge Loss

By Nathan Gill and James Attwood
Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Lan Airlines SA, Latin America’s biggest air carrier by market value, reported a 37 percent drop in third-quarter profit on lower sales and a fuel hedge loss.

Net income fell to $52.1 million from $83 million a year earlier, the Santiago-based airline wrote in a statement distributed today by PRNewswire. Profit was in line with the $52.8 million average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Revenue slumped 19 percent on lower yields in both the cargo and passenger businesses, partially offset by a 14 percent fall in operating expenses on lower fuel costs, it wrote. A fuel hedging loss of $14.4 million compared with a gain of $29.2 million in the same period a year earlier.

Ticket prices declined as a 42 percent slide in average oil prices lowered fuel surcharges, while cargo traffic slumped, Bice Inversiones wrote in an Oct. 23 note to clients.