AirAsia falls into the red in 3Q on forex loss

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 26): Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd (AirAsia) sunk into the red in its third quarter ended Sept 30, 2015 (3Q15) with a net loss of RM405.72 million, dragged down by a foreign exchange (forex) loss on borrowings and losses from the share of results of associates and jointly-controlled entities, as well as one-off costs related to the sale and leaseback of aircraft.

Its forex loss came in at RM435.98 million, its filing to Bursa Malaysia today showed; it recorded a net profit of RM5.4 million in the previous year's corresponding period.

Thus, it posted a 14.6 sen loss per share in its 3QFY15, compared with an earnings per share (EPS) of 0.2 sen a year ago.

Its latest quarterly revenue, however, was up 15% year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM1.52 billion from RM1.32 billion; the strong revenue growth was on the back of a remarkable 19% y-o-y growth in the number of passengers carried at 6.29 million, ahead of a 7% capacity growth, which allowed the group to record a high load factor of 82% — a five percentage point y-o-y growth.

"This was attributed to a more rational capacity and pricing environment by other players. These double-digit growths were further aided by the improved demand of Chinese travellers, which has grown 22% y-o-y this quarter," AirAsia said in a statement.

Its 3Q quarterly loss, however, saw the group posting a net loss of RM13.37 million in the cumulative nine months ended Sept 30 (9MFY15), compared with a net profit of RM512.27 million in 9MFY14.

This results in a 9MFY15 loss per share of 0.5 sen, versus an 18.4 sen EPS registered in the same period last year.

AirAsia said its directors "remain positive for the prospects of the group" for the remainder of the year, as it sees strong demands in Malaysia in the fourth quarter of 2015, while forward loads and average fares in Thailand looks optimistic as its business environment has picked up.

"In Indonesia, forward loads and average fares for the remaining months of the fourth quarter of 2015 continue to improve as a result of the brand recovery efforts launched in April. In Philippines, revenue per available seat kilometer for the remaining months of the fourth quarter 2015 are forecasted to further improve from the third quarter 2015," it noted.

As for India, it added that the forward loads remain buoyant.

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