Aer Lingus profits may reach £48m

 

AER Lingus is expected to report operational profits of about £48 million when it unveils its 1995 figures today. This compares with a trading profit of £10.4 million in the last accounting period," which covered 21 months.

Employees will benefit by about £400 each as part of a new profit sharing scheme.

The accounts were presented to the Cabinet yesterday by the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications, Mr Lowry.

In advance of their publication, Aer Lingus refused to comment on how much profit it made, though the chairman, Mr Bernie Cahill, said last week it had been restored to solid profitability.

The Government has not asked for a dividend this year, but did not rule out the possibility of looking for a return in future.

A spokesman said "Dividend policy is kept under constant review by the shareholder and the company.

"It would be the aim of the Government to seek a dividend from Aer Lingus as soon as the group financial position permits."

The results have been helped by a strong performance on the air transport side, a sizeable cut in debt repayments and a drop in losses at TEAM Aer Lingus from £27.9 million to just over £9 million.

The performance has also been transformed by an injection of £175 million in equity by the State and major asset disposals which raised £220 million, including the sale of the Copthorne Hotel division.

Aer Lingus debt, which was over £500 million when the Cahill survival plan was launched three years ago, is now estimated to be about £145 million.