Norwegian Air posts first results since starting Dublin-US route

This Week: Checkout Conference 2018 to focus on planning for challenging times ahead

Norwegian Air plans to double services from Dublin to Stewart International Airport in New York State, providing twice-daily flights from the end of April. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/True Media

Norwegian Air plans to double services from Dublin to Stewart International Airport in New York State, providing twice-daily flights from the end of April. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/True Media

 

Monday

Indicators: Irish construction PMI (Jan), new car sales (Jan); US consumer inflation expectations (Jan).

Tuesday

Results: PepsiCo, Under Armour.

Indicators: Irish trade statistics (Nov); UK PPI input and output (Jan), retail price index (Jan), inflation (Jan); US business optimism index (Jan).

Meetings: Checkout Conference 2018 (Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin 4); Ibec Winning Business in Africa event for agri-food sector (Ibec, Lower Baggot St, Dublin).

The Checkout Conference 2018 for retailers, which will set its focus on strategic planning for the next decade, comes at a challenging time for the sector.

The recently published Grant Thornton Retail Excellence report on Q4 2017 showed an “inconsistency”, reflecting sliding consumer sentiment and “cheap imports” from non-EU websites, aggravated by what Retail Excellence described as a failure to intercept such incoming parcels.

Of course, the online threat to retail is nothing new, but it is a headache with no sign of relief.

Retail Excellence deputy chief executive Lorraine Higgins said the last quarter’s trends make it “clear that a degree of vulnerability continues to exist”.

“While figures might be up marginally, this has occurred at the expense of intensive marketing campaigns undertaken by retailers and consequentially reduced margins,” she said.

How to address these ongoing problems will be central to Tuesday’s annual conference. It will also examine the progress made by companies working to reach 2020 targets in areas including sustainability and growth.

Among a list of key speakers this year are Andrew Yaxley, chief executive at Tesco Ireland; Fiona Dawson, president of Mars Chocolate UK; Dieter Brandes, former managing director of Aldi Nord; Chris Martin, chief executive of the Musgrave Group; and Gordon Campbell, former managing director at Spar International.

Wednesday

Results: AerCap Holdings, DSM, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Groupon, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott International, Time, TripAdvisor.

Indicators: Irish residential property prices (Dec); Euro zone industrial production (Dec), GDP (Q4); German inflation (Jan), GDP flash (Q4); US retail sales (Jan), inflation (Jan).

Thursday

Results: ICON, Norwegian Air.

Indicators: Irish balance of trade (Dec), inflation (Jan), exports and imports (Dec); Euro zone balance of trade (Dec); US PPI (Jan), balance of trade (Dec), manufacturing and industrial production (Jan).

Meetings: Dublin Chamber AGM Dinner with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin 4).

Norwegian Air posts its first set of full-year results on Thursday since revolutionising transatlantic travel for Irish consumers last summer.

However these early days of its service feed into profits, the airline is doubling down on a strategy welcomed by those who had long dreamed of budget flights to America.

Last week, it emerged Norwegian plans to double services from Dublin to Stewart International Airport in New York State, providing twice-daily flights from the end of April. This will bring an additional 66,000 seats in 2018.

Since it arrived with a bang – and €99 one-way tickets – last July, the Scandinavian airline has flown 130,000 people between the two countries.

“Not only are Irish passengers benefiting from more flights to the US, but we’re also making it easier for Americans to access Ireland and beyond at much better value,” said chief commercial officer Thomas Ramdahl.

What this all means for shareholders has yet to be seen.

In late October, Q3 results showed Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of 1,505 million Norwegian kroner (€155.4 million) against a consensus of 1,904 million kroner (€196.6 million).

In a note, Davy said that while Norwegian’s rapid growth levels (25 per cent extra capacity in 2017 and an expected 32 per cent this year) would inevitably bring added costs ahead of realised revenue benefits, “the market still requires evidence that it can actually leverage increasing scale to achieve comparative cost benefits”.

Friday

Results: Air France KLM, Danone, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Kraft Heinz.

Indicators: UK retail sales (Jan); US import and export prices (Jan).

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