Emirates Airline profits nearly triple in half-year

The latest result is a change of fortune for the Dubai carrier. (Reuters)
Updated 08 November 2019

Emirates Airline profits nearly triple in half-year

  • The airline attributed the soaring profits to a sharp drop in the cost of fuel which accounts for almost a third of company spending

DUBAI: Emirates Airline, the largest carrier in the Middle East, has reported a 282-percent rise in half-year net profits, mainly thanks to a drop in operating costs and fuel prices.

The result was a change of fortunes for the Dubai carrier, which for the full-year to the end of March took a heavy hit from high oil prices and currency fluctuations.

The carrier said it posted a net profit of $235 million in the first six months of the current financial year compared to just $62 million in the same period last year.

The airline attributed the soaring profits to a sharp drop in the cost of fuel which accounts for almost a third of company spending.

An 8 percent drop in operating costs and a rise in the number of passengers per flight also contributed to the healthy results.

“The lower fuel cost was a welcome respite as we saw our fuel bill drop by AED 2 billion ($545 million) compared to the same period last year,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, said in a statement.

“However, unfavorable currency movements wiped off approximately AED 1.2 billion ($327 million) from our profits,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

On average, fuel costs were 13 percent lower compared to the same period last year, the airline said.  In the last full year, Emirates’ net profit dived 69 percent to just $237 million due to high oil prices and currency fluctuations.

“The global outlook is difficult to predict, but we expect the airline and travel industry to continue facing headwinds over the next six months,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

The airline said its revenue in the April to September period dropped 3 percent to $12.9 billion compared to $13.3 billion in the same period last year. Emirates carried 29.6 million passengers in the six-month period.


Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

Updated 15 November 2019

Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

  • Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade
  • Alibaba Chief Executive Officer said the group wanted to participate in Hong Kong’s future

HONG KONG: Chinese technology giant Alibaba on Friday confirmed plans to list in Hong Kong in what it called a $13 billion vote of confidence in the turbulent city’s markets and a step forward in its plans to go global.
The enormous IPO, which Hong Kong had lobbied for, will come as a boost for authorities wrestling with pro-democracy protests that have tarnished the financial hub’s image for order and security and hammered its stock market.
Alibaba will offer 500 million shares at a maximum of HK$188 apiece to retail investors, the company said. The number eight is considered auspicious in China.
Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade after insurance giant AIA raised $20.5 billion in 2010.
Alibaba had planned to list in the summer but called it off owing to the city’s long-running pro-democracy protests and the China-US trade war. The US and China are now working on sealing a partial trade deal.
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Chief Executive Officer, said the group wanted to “contribute, in our small way, and participate in the future of Hong Kong.”
“During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright,” he said.
The firm’s shares are already traded in New York. A second listing in Hong Kong is expected to curry favor with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after the loss of companies such as Baidu to Wall Street.
In the statement, Zhang said that when Alibaba went public in 2014 it “missed out on Hong Kong with regret.”
Mainland authorities have also stepped up moves to attract such listings, including launching a new technology board in Shanghai in July.
The listing comes after the city’s exchange tweaked the rules to allow double listings, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also been pushing Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma to sell shares in the city.
“The listing in Hong Kong will allow more of the company’s users and stakeholders in the Alibaba digital economy across Asia to invest and participate in Alibaba’s growth,” the company said.
It has long been expected to launch a multibillion-dollar stock listing in Hong Kong but appeared to postpone the offering because of political and economic turmoil.
Hong Kong’s key Hang Seng Index rose 0.48 percent in morning trading following the announcement
Chinese shoppers set new records for spending on Monday’s annual 24-hour “Singles’ Day” buying spree, despite an economic slowdown in the country and the worries over the US trade war.
It said consumers spent $38.3 billion on its platforms over that stretch, up 26 percent from the previous all-time high mark set last year.
Alibaba also said it saw record amounts of cross-border sales, underlining its plans to expand globally.
“Globalization is the future of Alibaba Group. We firmly believe the marriage of digital technology and commerce will bring about unprecedented change that will not be limited by borders,” Zhang said.