UPDATE 1-easyJet nudges up profit guidance after strong year
LONDON Oct 3 (Reuters) - Britain's easyJet underlined its growing advantage over rivals such as Ryanair in the low-cost sector on Thursday, raising its outlook due to a strategy of adding flights on routes where rivals have cut back.
The Luton, southern England-based firm said it now expected pretax profit for the 12 months to Sept. 30 of 470-480 million pounds ($763-779 million) compared with its previous guidance of 450-480 million pounds.
The upbeat assessment stands in contrast to that given last month by Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, which warned on annual profit, blaming lower demand across the continent and currency issues.
easyJet said it expected revenue per seat at constant currency to increase about 6 percent in the three months to Sept. 30, driven by strong demand in July and August, taking second half growth also to 6 percent.
Cost per seat, excluding fuel growth and at constant currency, was forecast up 4 percent, mainly reflecting higher charges at regulated airports.
Looking further out easyJet said a quarter of seats for the first half of the year to Sept. 30 2014 had been sold, in line with the prior year.
However, it forecast an increase in its year-on-year fuel bill for the first half of the 2013-14 year of 20-30 million pounds and a negative exchange rate impact of 10 million pounds.
Shares in easyJet were up 1.8 percent at 1,336 pence at 0746 GMT, valuing the business at about 5.2 billion pounds.
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