Air NZ reiterates target for pretax earnings to more than double

Air New Zealand has reiterated its target for full-year earnings to more than double, driven by a rebound in the first six months of the year. The shares rose after the announcement.

The Auckland-based company first gave the forecast with the release in late August of its full-year results, saying it was based on the assumption of market demand and fuel prices at elevated levels.

Normalised earnings before tax were $91 million in 2012, so the prediction implies a 2013 result of at least $182 million.

The airline's guidance for the first half, ending December 31, was for normalised earnings in a range of $120 million to $140 million, a recovery from the same period last year, when high fuel costs and a fall in international passenger numbers cut pretax earnings to just $33 million.

The shares climbed 1.6% to $1.265 on the NZX today and have climbed 38% this year. The stock is rated "outperform" based on the consensus of seven recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a price target of $1.41.

The first-half forecast implies a weaker second half, which the airline says follows its traditional seasonal pattern.

Air New Zealand, which is 73%-owned by the Crown, is among five of the state-owned assets that the National-led government has earmarked for a sell down over the next five years.

(BusinessDesk)

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Amazing how a company can talk up its earnings just as its senior management team prepare to exit it. Anyone would think that long-term incentive plans (which are tied to earnings) were about to mature.

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