Wed, Jan 30, 2002 - Page 17 News List

CAL's 2001 profit declines

BLOOMBERG , TAIPEI

China Airlines Co (華航), Taiwan's largest airline, said 2001 profit fell by about two-fifths as slowing economies and fears of terrorist attacks curtailed air travel and hurt cargo demand.

Net income fell to between NT$1.7 billion (US$49 million) and NT$1.8 billion last year, from NT$2.93 billion the previous year, based on preliminary numbers, China Airlines President Christine Tsung (宗才怡) said at press conference. That beat an October target of NT$1.4 billion profit. Most of the profit came from trading currencies and fuel contracts, company spokesman Paul Wang (王振畬) said.

"We doubt that China Airlines can deliver the same profit from fuel hedging again," Mark Chang, an analyst at CLSA Ltd, wrote in a report in which he downgraded the stock to "sell" from "outperform." China Airlines and other airlines worldwide suffered in 2001 as demand for air travel fell in the aftermath of the September terrorist attacks in the US. Taiwan exports, many of which are transported by air, fell a record 11.5 percent last year as demand for computer chips and other electronic goods weakened.

"Most other airlines are not profitable in 2001," Wang said. "Trading gains in foreign exchange and fuel helped China Airlines."

Wang said company President Tsung, who was appointed as Taiwan's economic minister last week, will be replaced by Lee Yun-ning (李雲寧), who is currently China Airlines' chairman. The board meets this afternoon to decide on the appointment, Wang said.

Pretax profit fell to NT$1.63 billion from NT$2.8 billion in 2000. China Airlines' sales fell 3 percent to NT$69.9 billion lat year. In December, China Airlines' sales fell 0.2 percent to NT$1.8 billion.

Losing lift

*Net income fell to between NT$1.7 billion and NT$1.8 billion last year, from NT$2.93 billion in 2000.

* Pretax profit fell to NT$1.63 billion from NT$2.8 billion in 2000.

* Sales fell 3 percent to NT$69.9 billion lat year

* In December, the company's sales fell 0.2 percent to NT$1.8 billion.


China Airlines filled 74.2 percent of its available seats with paying passengers last year.

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