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* Fourth quarter adjusted loss 23 cents/shr
* Annual revenue of nearly $25 billion reaches record
* Operating costs fall
Jan 16 (Reuters) - AMR Corp, the parent company of American Airlines, reported a fourth-quarter profit Wednesday following a year-earlier loss and said cost-cutting measures undertaken during restructuring would buoy earnings in future.
The carrier, which is weighing a merger with US Airways Group against exiting Chapter 11 as a standalone company, said 2012 revenue grew 3.7 percent to $24.9 billion, its highest annual revenue ever.
Having filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2011, American has renegotiated plane leases, reduced management and support staff and froze pension plans to lower costs and improve competitiveness with rivals.
"Having reached the vast majority of our restructuring milestones already, we can now focus on the new American becoming reality," Chief Executive Tom Horton said in a memo to staff. He said the financial improvement would pick up as the full effects of the reorganization kick in.
Net income was $262 million, or 69 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.1 billion, or $3.27 a share, a year earlier.
Excluding items such as benefits tied to income taxes and the settlement of a commercial dispute, American had a loss of $88 million, or 23 cents a share. That compares with a loss of 53 cents expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Quarterly revenue eased 0.3 percent to $5.9 billion due to an estimated $155-million impact of superstorm Sandy, a November snow storm and disruptions to operations last year, the carrier said.
Operating expenses fell 12 percent in the quarter, and fuel costs rose nearly 8 percent.