June 24, 2020 / 4:13 PM / 8 days ago

Airline easyJet's first-half loss widens as COVID-19 hurts travel, seeks cash

June 24 (Reuters) - Budget airline easyJet on Wednesday reported a bigger loss for the first half as it took a 160-million-pound hit ($199 million) from failed fuel hedging as the COVID-19 pandemic brought global air travel to a virtual standstill.

The London-listed company reported a pretax loss of 353 million pounds for the six months ended March 31 from a loss of 272 million pounds last year. Revenue rose 1.6%, though easyJet took a hit from strikes in France, and storms Ciara and Dennis.

The airline, which did not provide guidance for the rest of the year, separately announced that it would raise as much as 450 million pounds by selling shares to bolster its finances as most of its fleet remains grounded during the health crisis. ($1 = 0.8046 pounds) (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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