LATAM Airlines Q1 net profit tumbles 43.8 pct to $42.7 mln

SANTIAGO Tue May 14, 2013 6:41pm EDT

SANTIAGO May 14 (Reuters) - LATAM Airlines Group SA's first-quarter net profit fell 43.8 percent from the year ago period when its earnings benefited from a foreign exchange gain, the company said on Tuesday.

The airline said in a statement to Chile's securities regulator that its net income fell to $42.7 million in the first three months of this year from $76.1 million in the same period of 2012.

A Reuters poll had forecast Latin America's largest carrier would post a 54.6 percent tumble in net profit to $38.2 million.

The carrier, the fruit of Chilean LAN's takeover of Brazil's TAM last year, has operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.