Wizz Air revenues up 10.1% in H1, with record profits

Transport

press

Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air saw its total revenues increase by 10.1% to EUR 921.2 million in the first half of its financial year ending on September 30, the company said today in a report of unaudited results. Wizz Air’s 2017 fiscal year ends on March 31.

Wizz Air’s ticket revenues increased by 4.1% to EUR 567.2 mln, while ancillary revenues grew by 21.3% to EUR 354.0 mln, according to the earnings report.

The airline billed a record profit for the period (according to IFRS) of EUR 253.3 mln in the first half, a hike of 39.1% compared to the same period a year earlier. Underlying profit after tax was another record EUR 231.6 mln, up by 12.5%, while total cash at the end of September 2016 was EUR 935.3 mln, of which EUR 805.5 mln was free cash, the earnings report added. Wizz Air tagged the results as a strong balance sheet.

Total unit revenue of Wizz Air was down by 8.5% to 4.24 euro cents per available seat kilometer (ASK), while total unit costs fell by 11.0% to 3.08 euro cents per ASK, according to the report.

Ex-fuel unit costs dropped by a slight 0.1% to 2.18 euro cents per ASK, while fuel unit costs fell a bit more significantly by 29.8% to 0.89 euro cents per ASK, according to the report. The underlying net profit margin expanded 0.7 ppt to 25.4%, Wizz Air added.

“I’m pleased to report another strong all-round performance by Wizz Air during the first six months of our financial year […] which has seen passenger numbers increase 17% to 12.5 million passengers and profit margins grow,” said Wizz Air CEO József Váradi in a video conference from London today. “In the same period, we announced 70 new routes to/from 28 different countries, highlighting not only the significant opportunities available to us in Central and Eastern Europe but also the diversity of our network growth,” the CEO added.

Váradi, who admitted that Brexit has posed significant challenges for the whole market including Wizz Air, said the company was able to react fast and has stayed highly committed to the United Kingdom, and to continue to deliver double-digit growth on its U.K. network. “Our highly diversified network enabled us to quickly absorb capacity we reallocated in reaction to weak sterling following the Brexit vote,” he added.

Váradi added that Wizz Air’s “ultra-low cost model, reinforced with a delivery stream of brand new A321 aircraft, gives us a clear cost advantage” over most rivals.

Considering the full-year outlook, Wizz Air confirmed the guidance provided to the market in its trading update on July 20. With the continued expansion of its network, Wizz Air estimates that it will now grow capacity in terms of ASKs by around 18%-20% in this financial year, split approximately 20% in H1 and 18%-20% in the second half of the financial year, the earnings report states. 

“As previously indicated, lower fuel prices are feeding through to lower airfares and management anticipates this downward trend to persist well into 2017,” according to the report. “The strong H1 financial performance against challenging market conditions, combined with solid bookings for the third quarter, are encouraging and the company expects to report an underlying net profit for the full year (excluding exceptional items) in the range of between EUR 245 mln and EUR 255 mln,” the report concluded. 

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