Etihad Airways posts 200% rise in 2012 net profit

Updated 05 February 2013
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Etihad Airways posts 200% rise in 2012 net profit

ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways, the fast-growing carrier of Abu Dhabi, posted a 200 percent rise in net profit in 2012 and a 17 percent increase in revenues, the airline said in a statement on Monday.
Etihad posted a net income of $42 million last year compared to $14 million in 2011 when it made its first-ever profit, said the statement, which attributed the rise to strong improvements in revenues, passengers and cost control.
The Gulf carrier also said it was not considering canceling any of its orders for 41 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, despite a worldwide grounding of the aircraft after a number of incidents.
The government-owned airline said it was discussing buying a stake in India’s loss-making Jet Airways.
The flag carrier of the UAE capital said revenues increased to $4.8 billion in 2012 compared to $4.1 billion the previous year.
The number of passengers grew a healthy 23 percent to 10.3 million compared to 8.4 million in 2011, significantly boosted by Etihad’s partnerships which delivered more than $600 million in total revenue.
“This has been a game-changing year for Etihad Airways,” James Hogan, the airline’s president and chief executive officer said in the statement.
“We have delivered improved net profit, the second consecutive year we have been in the black, a remarkable achievement given the youth, ambitious growth and ongoing investment made by this airline in a challenging global economic environment.”
Etihad said it succeeded in building the first “equity alliance” with investments of 40 percent in Air Seychelles, 29.2 percent in airberlin, 9 percent in Virgin Australia and about 3 percent in Aer Lingus.
“We have taken great strides in building the industry’s first equity alliance ... which (is) contributing significant value to our business,” Hogan said.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 24 percent to $170 million, while EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and rentals) rose to $753 million, up 16 percent, Etihad said.
Hogan said more than 50 institutions have provided around $6.8 billion in cumulative funding for the airline’s ongoing expansion.
Planned fleet additions for 2013 include 14 aircraft — 11 passenger aircraft and three freighters.
Hogan told reporters that Etihad was not planning to cancel any of its Dreamliner orders.
The Dreamliner faces a global no-fly order imposed by US regulators over incidents including a fire on a Japan Airlines plane in Boston and an emergency landing on an ANA flight in Japan.
“We have strong relationship with Boeing.
“The 787 is a great aircraft, and it is not unusual for a new aircraft to have technical issues. We have no doubts that these issues will be resolved,” Hogan said.
Hogan also said Etihad was discussing a stake purchase of India’s private carrier Jet Airways, a day after a similar announcement by Jet.
“We are undertaking due diligence. We met (different ministers) to understand the new rule of investment” in India, Hogan said.
At the end of 2012, Etihad had 10,656 employees, 18 percent more than in 2011, representing more than 125 nationalities.
Etihad Airways, which began operations in 2003, serves 86 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.
It operates a fleet of 70 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and more than 90 aircraft on firm order, including 10 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.


Power-sucking Bitcoin ‘mines’ spark backlash

Updated 19 min 1 sec ago
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Power-sucking Bitcoin ‘mines’ spark backlash

  • Local US authorities pushing back against bitcoin miners as power prices rise
  • Firms insist they bring revenue, investment and talent to mining locations

NEW YORK: Bitcoin “miners” who use rows of computers whirring at the same time to produce virtual currencies began taking root along New York’s northern border a couple of years ago to tap into some of the nation’s cheapest hydroelectric power, offering an air of Silicon Valley sophistication to this often-snowy region.
But as the once-high-flying bitcoin market has waned, so too has the enthusiasm for bitcoin miners. Mining operations with stacks of servers suck up so much electricity that they are in some cases causing power rates to spike for ordinary customers. And some officials question whether it’s all worth it for the relatively few jobs created.
“We don’t want someone coming in, taking our resources, not creating the jobs they professed to create and then disappear,” said Tim Currier, mayor of Massena, a village just south of the Canadian border, where bitcoin operator Coinmint recently announced plans to use the old aluminum plant site for a mining operation that would require 400 megawatts — roughly enough to power 300,000 homes at once.
In Plattsburgh, where two cryptocurrency operations have been blamed for spiking electricity rates, the prospect of more cryptocurrency miners plugging in spooked officials enough in March to enact an 18-month moratorium on new operations. The small border village of Rouses Point also is holding off on approving new server farms and Lake Placid is considering a moratorium.
For local officials, the power struggle has been a crash course in the esoteric bitcoin mining business in which miners earn bitcoins by making complex calculations that verify transactions on the digital currency’s public ledger.
Since it often uses hundreds of computers that throw off tremendous heat and burn a lot of power, it has tended to gravitate toward cooler places with cheap electricity, such as geothermal-rich Iceland or along the Columbia River region of Washington state.
The stretch of New York near the Canadian border similarly fits the bill. Cheap hydropower from a dam spanning the St. Lawrence River is doled out by a state authority to local businesses that promise to create jobs. Additionally, some municipalities such as Massena and Plattsburgh receive cheap electricity from a separate hydropower project near Niagara Falls.

 

In Plattsburgh, electricity is so cheap most residents use it instead of oil or wood to heat their homes. The couple of commercial cryptocurrency mines here can get an industrial rate of about 3 cents per kilowatt hour — less than half the national average.
But Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read said its largest operator, Coinmint, which has two plants employing 20 or fewer people, can consume about 10 percent of Plattsburgh’s 104 megawatt cheap electricity quota. When the city exceeded its allocation like it did this winter, customers ended up paying $10 to $30 more a month for the extra electricity. For a major employer like Mold-Rite Plastics plant, it cost them at least $15,000 in February.
State regulators have since given municipal utilities the ability to charge higher rates to cryptocurrency miners. At least one bitcoin miner in Plattsburgh says he’s working with the city on solutions to the power worries.
Ryan Brienza, founder and CEO of the hosting company Zafra, said those could include mining on behalf of the city for an hour a day or harnessing the heat from mining computers to warm up large spaces.
While the direct number of jobs associated with mines can be small, Brienza said they can bring revenue, investments and talent to the city while employing local contractors.
“It can start snowballing,” Brienza said.
Coinmint’s plans for a new plant in Massena, for example, come with a promise of 150 jobs. That’s welcome in an area that in the past decade has suffered though the loss of aluminum-making jobs and the closure of a General Motors powertrain plant.
“J-O-Bs. Yup. What we need up here,” said Steve O’Shaughnessy, Massena town supervisor.
Coinmint had asked for a cheap power allocation from the New York Power Authority for Massena for part of its energy needs, but that request was deferred.
The power authority has separately enacted its own moratorium on allocating hydropower to cryptocurrency operations — mirroring municipalities that have effectively pushed the “pause” button on a rush of miners coming in.
Coinmint representatives said this month they hope to begin the Massena operation in the second part of this year. The company stressed that mines can be a good fit for this job-hungry area.
“They’re also going to get substantially more efficient over time,” said Coinmint spokesman Kyle Carlton. “So to the extent that Plattsburgh or Massena or anybody else can get in on that and establish themselves on the ground floor, I think that’s going to help those cities to be successful.”

Decoder

Bitcoin mining is the process used to verify transactions and add them to the currency's public ledger (blockchain). It involves compiling pending transactions and turning them into a computationally difficult, mathematical puzzle. The first computer to solve the puzzle claims a transaction fee and a newly-released bitcoin.