* Q1 op loss unchanged at 359 mln eur vs poll 299 mln loss
* Books 64 mln eur restructuring costs in Q1
* Revenue up 0.1 pct to 6.63 bln vs f'cast 6.65 bln
* Confirms FY targets
* Shares up 2.6 pct
(Recasts, adds share reaction and detail throughout)
By Marilyn Gerlach
FRANKFURT, May 2 German airline Lufthansa
vowed to deliver on profit-boosting initiatives this
year, saying painful cost cuts would pay off and forecasting a
rise in revenue.
Shares in Europe's biggest airline by sales rose 2.6 percent
to 15.58 euros by 0947 GMT, after rising as high as 16.06 euros,
their highest since late March.
The airline said it expects higher operating profit and
revenue in 2013, driven by a restructuring programme dubbed
SCORE that had helped offset soft demand in January to March as
Europe's debt problems weighed on consumer sentiment.
"2013 is the year in which we want to show that we are
capable of implementing our ambitious plans," Europe's biggest
airline by sales said on Thursday.
Like Air France-KLM and International Consolidated
Airlines Group, which groups British Airways and
Iberia, Lufthansa is the midst of deep cutbacks to cope with
soaring fuel costs and tough competition from Gulf and low-cost
Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne told reporters details
on revamping the passenger division would be announced in May,
raising the prospect of a wider restructuring.
The passenger business managed to eke out a 0.6 percent
growth in quarterly revenue to 5.07 billion euros, mainly
through tightened seating capacity growth.
The airline's first-quarter operating loss remained at 359
million euros ($474 million), a bigger loss than the 299 million
expected and hit by 64 million in restructuring costs, strikes
and a long winter.
Revenue grew only 0.1 percent to 6.63 billion versus a
forecast 6.65 billion.
Analysts said while the quarterly results were somewhat
disappointing, SCORE should bear fruit later this year.
"In addition, we continue to highlight the recent pull-back
in fuel (prices) which will provide a tailwind as we go through
the year," said analyst Donal O'Nell of Goodbody Stockbrokers.
SCORE was launched last year with a target of boosting
operating profit to 2.3 billion euros in 2015, compared with 524
million last year, through 3,500 job cuts, better purchasing and
the merger of European short-haul services with discount unit
Lufthansa had on Wednesday warded off the threat of further
strike action with a deal agreed with unions which will raise
pay by up to 4.7 percent for ground crew and cabin staff.
Lufthansa shares had been trading on 10.1 times estimated
12-months earnings, a discount to Air France-KLM's 16.4 times
and ICAG's 16.7, according to StarMine, which weights analysts
based on their forecasting track record.
($1 = 0.7580 euros)
(Editing by Christoph Steitz and David Holmes)