REFILE-Ryanair sees profit growth slowing in current year
DUBLIN May 19 (Reuters) - Ryanair posted record full-year earnings but warned profit growth would slow sharply in the coming 12 months on demand weakness in the European Union and high fuel and airport costs.
Europe's largest budget airline reported net profit of 569 million euros ($730 million) for the 12 months to the end of March, up 13 percent and ahead of an average analyst forecast of 558 million in a company poll.
But the company said it expected profit for the coming financial year to be at most 600 million euros, an increase of 5 percent, and could come in flat at 570 million.
"We expect modest yield (revenue per passenger mile) and traffic growth for the full year to be partly offset by higher oil and Eurocontrol costs," Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said in a statement, referring to the pan-European air traffic control body.
"With almost zero yield visibility into (the second half) and the EU wide recession, we expect that there will continue to be downward pressure on yields which will dampen full-year profit growth," O'Leary said.
Ryanair, which will not begin to receive any of the 175 Boeing jets it ordered in March until the following year, said it expects passenger numbers to grow 3 percent in coming year, compared with growth of 5 percent in 12 months to March.
He said bookings on new routes and bases in the coming summer were ahead of expectations, but warned that average fares were modest.
Ryanair shares closed on Friday at 6.33 euros, up 35 percent since the start of the year, compared with a rise of 55 percent at rival easyJet and 18 percent in the broader Irish stock market index.