* Lufthansa sees 2013, 2014 operating profit up
* Says 2013 profit to be affected by restructuring costs
* 2012 operating profit down 36 pct at 524 mln euros
* Lufthansa sees 2013 net profit down yr-on-yr
* Shares up 3.2 pct, outperform Dax
By Maria Sheahan
FRANKFURT, March 14 Deutsche Lufthansa
, Europe's biggest airline by revenue, said a tough
economic outlook and restructuring costs would limit operating
profit growth this year and next.
European carriers including Lufthansa, Air France-KLM
and British Airways are slashing jobs and
shelving growth plans as they grapple with soaring jet fuel
prices, a weak economy and fierce competition from low-cost
carriers and Middle East airlines.
Lufthansa is cutting 3,500 jobs, revamping low-cost carrier
Germanwings and bundling procurement for its airlines. It hopes
its restructuring programme - dubbed SCORE - will help boost
operating profit to 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) in 2015,
compared with 524 million last year.
"We should not get our expectations too high for 2013,"
Chief Executive Christoph Franz said on Thursday as he presented
full 2012 financial results. "Our 2013 result shall have to bear
the burden of the restructuring and project costs."
Excluding restructuring costs of 160 million euros, the
revamp programme's hundreds of projects contributed 618 million
euros to earnings in 2012. That figure will rise to 740 million
euros this year, Lufthansa said.
The company's shares were up 3.2 percent in early trading,
outperforming a 0.9 percent rise in Germany's DAX index.
SOARING FUEL BILL
Lufthansa reported last month its 2012 operating profit
dropped 36 percent as the price of jet fuel rose and it spent
money on its restructuring programme.
Analysts on average see Lufthansa's operating profit rising
to 1.1 billion euros this year and to about 1.3 billion euros
next year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Fuel accounts for more than a fifth of Lufthansa's operating
costs, and its fuel bill rose almost 18 percent to 7.4 billion
euros in 2012 from 6.3 billion a year earlier.
Lufthansa was the only major European legacy airline to
posted a net profit for 2012, helped by a 623-million-euro gain
from the sale of shares in Amadeus IT Holding.
Nonetheless, it scrapped its dividend for 2012, choosing
instead to bolster its fleet and fund future restructuring,
despite net profit that beat the most optimistic analyst
Lufthansa said its supervisory board approved the purchase
of 108 new aircraft on Wednesday. The aircraft with a total list
price of 9 billion euros include two mammoth A380 jets for its
main Lufthansa brand and six Boeing 777-300s for carrier SWISS.
Lufthansa said it saw net profit declining this year from
2012's 990 million euros but did not provide a specific target.
Analysts see net profit of 545 million euros this year.