Lufthansa profit warning spooks European airline sector

Lufthansa’s problems are centered on its European business, with a more positive outlook for its long-haul operations. (AFP)
Updated 17 June 2019

Lufthansa profit warning spooks European airline sector

  • Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary last month warned of the impact of what he called ‘attritional fare wars’

FRANKFURT: Germany’s Lufthansa sent shockwaves through the European airline sector on Monday as it cut its full-year profit forecast, with lower prices and higher fuel costs compounding the effect of losses at its budget subsidiary Eurowings.
The warning follows gloomy comments last month from Irish budget airline Ryanair, which vies with Lufthansa for top spot in Europe in terms of passengers carried. Air France-KLM also reported a widening quarterly loss last month.
In a statement issued late on Sunday, Lufthansa forecast annual EBIT of between €2 billion and €2.4 billion, down from the previously targeted €2.4 billion to €3 billion.
“Yields in the European short-haul market, in particular in the group’s home markets, Germany and Austria, are affected by sustained overcapacities caused by carriers willing to accept significant losses to expand their market share,” it said.
European airlines are locked in a battle for supremacy, with a surfeit of seats holding down revenues and higher fuel costs adding to the pressure. A number of smaller airlines have collapsed over the past two years.
Lufthansa cited falling revenue from its Eurowings budget business as a key reason for the profit warning.
“The group expects the European market to remain challenging at least for the remainder of 2019,” it said.
It also pointed to high jet fuel costs, which it said could exceed last year’s figure by €550 million, despite a recent fall in crude oil prices.
Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary last month warned of the impact of what he called “attritional fare wars” and said four or five European airlines were likely to emerge as the winners in the sector.
“No signs that anyone is prepared to reduce capacity, therefore we would anticipate the wave of consolidation in European short haul is not over,” said analyst Neil Wilson, analyst at London-based broker market.com.
Earlier this month global airlines slashed a widely watched industry profit forecast by 21 percent as an expanding trade war and higher oil prices compound worries about an overdue industry slowdown.
Lufthansa’s problems are centered on its European business, with a more positive outlook for its long-haul operations, especially on transatlantic and Asian routes.
Eurowings management is due to implement turnaround measures to be presented shortly, Lufthansa said, adding that efforts to reduce costs had so far been slower than expected.
Lufthansa’s adjusted margin for earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was forecast between 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent, down from 6.5 percent to 8 percent previously, it said in a statement.
Lufthansa also said it would make a €340 million provision for in its first-half accounts, relating to a tax matter in Germany originating in the years between 2001 and 2005.


Egypt inaugurates $3.4M hyrdocracking complex to produce petroleum products

Updated 27 September 2020

Egypt inaugurates $3.4M hyrdocracking complex to produce petroleum products

CAIRO: A new hydrocracking complex worth $3.4 million was inaugurated on Sunday by the Egyptian president in a ceremony north of Cairo.

The complex will produce 4.7 million tons of high-value petroleum products as part of Egypt’s ambitious program to enhance its refining industry, a local report said. 

It was established in cooperation with the private sector to produce high-octane gasoline and diesel. It converts low-value diesel into high-quality petroleum products, which include hydrocracking units for diesel, charcoal, vacuum distillation, sulphur treatment and naphtha repair, according to a report by Egypt Today news website. 

Work at the site, located in Musturud of Qalyubia governorate, began in 2011 but was halted due to the political turmoil that broke out that year, the Egyptian president said. 

President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi asked Egyptians to realize “the size of benefits from a complex like this for Egypt in the field of petroleum,” in statements quoted by Youm 7 newspaper.