Kenya Airways says full-year pretax loss narrows 12%

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NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya Airways Ltd narrowed its pretax loss by 12.2 percent to 26.1 billion shillings ($257 million) in the year to end-March, it said on Thursday.

The carrier, which is part-owned by Air France KLM, has been reducing its fleet, selling land and cutting jobs to recover from losses caused by a slump in tourism and the cost of renewing its fleet.

Finance director Dick Murianki said the airline, which says it ferries 11,500 passengers a day, reduced its operating loss by 75 percent.

Gross profit rose 42 percent and the operating loss shrank to 4.1 billion shillings.

“We have taxied and we are aligned for take-off,” he told an investor briefing.

Passengers numbers rose to 4.23 million from 4.18 million as the proportion of occupied seats, the “cabin factor”, rose 5 percent to 68.3 percent.

However, a firmer dollar against the shilling during the year, higher financing costs and fuel hedging losses offset the impact of higher revenue, the airline said.

Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze said they were raising funds to support the airline’s recovery. He did not give details.

He said the main risk facing the carrier was uncertainty around Kenya’s presidential election, set for August 2017.

The airline’s shares fell 10 percent to 4.25 shillings midway through the session, after the results were released.

 

($1 = 101.4000 Kenyan shillings)

 

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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