UPDATE 1-Amadeus defies economic gloom with flight bookings rise

Thu Nov 8, 2012 3:39am EST

* Core earnings up 6.5 pct to 890 mln euros Jan-Sept.

* Revenue increases 8.4 pct to 2.2 bln euros

* Market share grows, provides technology to more firms (Adds detail, CEO quote)

MADRID, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Spanish travel technology company Amadeus said on Thursday market share gains helped it overcome tough economic conditions to increase earnings in the first nine months of 2012, keeping it on track for a higher dividend this year.

Amadeus, which provides technology to travel and tourism firms, said the number of airline passengers booking through its systems jumped 28 percent year-on-year to 420 million.

Global market leader Amadeus' share of the airline booking market expanded 1 percentage point to 38 percent despite lagging growth in Europe, where consumer confidence has been undermined by the euro zone debt crisis.

"Even if air traffic and business volumes for global distribution systems have shown some weakness this year ... We are confident about our full-year results," Chief Executive Luis Maroto said in a statement.

The company said nine-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 6.5 percent to 890 million euros ($1.1 billion), slightly above expectations.

Nine-month revenue grew 8.4 percent to 2.2 billion euros, in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll, as the company expanded its market share and flight bookings through travel agencies rose 4 percent.

Amadeus said last month that it would pay out between 40 and 50 percent of consolidated profit in dividends, compared to 30 to 40 percent before.

"We hope to pay a dividend of 0.5 euros per share," Maroto said, reiterating the company's promise to increase payouts at a time when many big Spanish companies are cutting or scrapping dividends to save cash. ($1 = 0.7840 euro) (Reporting by Clare Kane. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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