Thu, Apr 03, 2014 - Page 14 News List

TransAsia Airways to pay cash dividend

BEST OF THREE:The carrier had reported a net loss in the first three quarters of 2013, but a government payout associated with a lengthy legal battle helped it swing into profit

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

TransAsia Airways Corp (TNA, 復興航空) will be the only carrier in Taiwan to pay a cash dividend to shareholders for the third consecutive year this year, after posting the highest earnings per share (EPS) for last year among the nation’s three listed airlines.

TNA, which mainly operates regional and cross-strait passenger routes, earned NT$133.01 million (US$4.38 million), or NT$0.24 per share, last year, according to the company’s filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The carrier reported a net loss of NT$82.63 million in the first three quarters of last year, but a government compensation of NT$560 million in the fourth quarter associated with a decade-long legal battle with the air force helped it swing into profit for the whole year.

Last year’s figure was still lower than a year earlier, when it posted net income of NT$161.78 million, or NT$0.29 per share.

The carrier attributed the decline to a slower recovery in the global economy, relatively high fuel costs and a one-time asset impairment charge.

The company’s board has decided to approve a cash dividend of NT$0.1 per share this year, the same level as last year, according to a company statement.

In comparison, China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) and EVA Airways Corp (EVA, 長榮航空) said they would not distribute dividends to shareholders this year.

EVA, Taiwan’s second-largest airline, saw net income last year total NT$744.45 million, or NT$0.23 per share, compared with the previous year’s NT$655.2 million, or NT$2.2 a share, driven by a rise in passenger traffic that led to a stronger-than-expected net income of NT$72.36 million in the fourth quarter last year.

CAL remained unprofitable last year, as the nation’s largest carrier reported a net loss of NT$1.27 billion, or NT$0.25 per share.

That was worse than the NT$418.36 million net loss, or NT$0.01 per share, recorded a year earlier, according to the company’s stock exchange filing.

The company is banking on more cross-strait flights to improve its bottom line by teaming up with Chinese carriers as part of SkyTeam, one of the world’s three major airline alliances.

CAL yesterday said it will work with China Southern Airlines (南方航空), China Eastern Airlines (東方航空) and Xiamen Airlines (廈門航空) to raise its number of cross-strait flights to 152 from 129, starting from July.

Deutsche Bank AG said in a recent report that it remained upbeat about the outlook for CAL and EVA this year, citing a lift in air cargo demand and increased passenger traffic on routes to China, Japan and the US.

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