Emirates posts record profits in difficult times

THE Emirates Group reported its 20th consecutive year of net profit, notching a new profit record despite soaring oil prices and challenging business conditions in the second half of its 2007-08 fiscal year.

Group net profits increased 54.1 per cent to US$1.45 billion for the financial year ended 31 March, 2008, on revenues of $11.2 billion, compared to the previous year’s $8.5 billion. The group net margin improved to 13.2 per cent from 11.4 per cent in the previous year.

The group also retained a robust cash balance of $3.8 billion, compared with $3.5 billion the previous year. Emirates will pay a dividend of $272.5 million to its owner, the government of Dubai. In 2007-08, the group estimates a direct contribution of $6 billion and another $6.8 billion in indirect contribution to the UAE economy.

Emirates SkyCargo performed well in what was a turbulent year for the air cargo industry, marking healthy revenue and tonnage carried despite high fuel prices, a US slowdown form the sub-prime crisis and bad weather affecting agricultural production in key areas. The division carried 1.3 million tonnes of cargo, an improvement of 10/9 per cent over the previous year’s 1.2 million tonnes and recorded a revenue increase of 20 per cent to $1.8 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2006-07.

Cargo revenue contributed 19 per cent to the airline’s total transport revenue, yet again one of the highest contributions of any airline in the world with a similar fleet. During the year Emirates SkyCargo introduced freighter-only destinations to Djibouti, Hahn, Toledo and Zaragoza. At the end of the financial year, the freighter fleet was 10 aircraft – five leased and five owned. In all, Emirates SkyCargo carried freight inn 114 aircraft, including bellyhold space in the passenger fleet, to 99 cities on six continents.

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