Ryanair Stock Dips On Q3 Loss Due To Weak Fares; Jan. Traffic Up

( - Shares of Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA.L, RYAAY) were losing around 5 percent in the early morning trading in London after the low-cost airline reported a loss in its third quarter, compared to prior year's profit due to weaker than expected air fares. Revenues, however, were higher. Further, for the month of January, Ryanair reported higher passenger traffic.

Regarding Brexit, the company noted that the risk of a "no deal" Brexit remains worryingly high. The company said it has taken all necessary steps to protect Ryanair's business in a no-deal environment.

Over the next 12 months, Ryanair will move to a group structure, and Michael O'Leary will become Group CEO. A replacement CEO of Ryanair DAC, who will work alongside the CEOs of Laudamotion and Ryanair Sun, will be appointed later this year.

The company noted that O'Leary has agreed a new 5 year contract as Group CEO, which secures his services for the group until at least July 2024. His agreement will allow him to guide the individual CEO's of Ryanair, Laudamotion and Ryanair Sun, the company noted.

Regarding the results, O'Leary said, "While a €20m loss in Q3 was disappointing, we take comfort that this was entirely due to weaker than expected air fares so our customers are enjoying record low prices, which is good for current and future traffic growth. While ancillary revenues performed strongly, up 26 percent in Q3, this was offset by higher fuel, staff and EU261 costs."

For the third quarter, loss attributable to equity holders of parent for the third-quarter was 66.1 million euros or 0.0580 euros per share, compared to profit of 105.6 million euros or 0.0885 euros per share in the prior year. Ryanair reported a net loss of 19.6 million euros, excluding Lauda.

Quarterly revenue increased 9 percent to 1.53 billion euros from prior year's 1.41 billion euros. Revenues were up 1 percent per guest, due to a strong performance in ancillary revenue and increased traffic.

Passenger traffic grew 8 percent to 32.7 million from 30.4 million last year. Load factor was flat at 96 percent. However, the strong traffic growth was offset by a 6 percent decline in average fares to under 30 euros due to excess winter capacity in Europe.

Ancillary revenue climbed 26 percent to 557 million euros, offset by higher fuel, staff and EU261 costs.

As announced on January 18, Ryanair's fiscal year 2019 profit guidance will be in a range of 1.0 billion euros - 1.1 billion euros. The outlook reflects the expected decline of around 7 percent in winter fares; Stronger traffic growth of 9 percent to 142 million; Stronger ancillary sales as more customers choose lower cost optional services; and slightly better than expected second-half unit cost performance, mainly lower unhedged oil prices.

Separately, the company announced that its January total passenger traffic increased 11 percent to 10.3 million from 9.3 million, a year ago. Ryanair alone recorded 10.0 million customers, up 7 percent from the prior year level. Laudamotion carried 0.3 million passengers, for the month. Load factor was 91 percent for January.

The company operated over 58,000 scheduled flights in the month with over 90 percent arriving on time.

In London, Ryanair shares were trading at 10.90 euros, down 4.76 percent.

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