Qantas turnaround plan delivers record annual profit

Australian airline to pay first dividend since 2009

Qantas Airways chief executive Alan Joyce. The airline announced its first dividend since 2009 and paid bonuses to 25,000 workers. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Qantas Airways chief executive Alan Joyce. The airline announced its first dividend since 2009 and paid bonuses to 25,000 workers. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

 

Qantas Airways announced its first dividend since 2009 and handed bonuses to 25,000 workers as chief executive Alan Joyce’s turnaround program delivered a record annual profit.

Australia’s biggest carrier will pay a final dividend of seven Australian cents a share and buy back as much as A$366 million(€248 million) of stock, according to a filing on Wednesday.

Earnings before tax and one-time items surged 57 per cent to A$1.53 billion in the 12 months ended June 30th.

Dublin-born Mr Joyce, who has cut thousands of jobs, deferred aircraft orders and dropped unprofitable routes as part of a A$2 billion transformation programme, said the three-year plan was on course to exceed its target. The regular dividend has returned earlier than some analysts had expected.

“Qantas is in a really sweet spot,’’ said Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG Ltd. “A regular dividend in this global environment is going to be a real positive. It shows you how consistently the company can hold these gains going forward.’’

Shares rise

The airline’s shares rose 4.1 per cent to A$3.54 in early trading. Qantas stock has almost tripled since Mr Joyce announced his turnaround programme on February 27th, 2014.

Before today, Sydney-based Qantas had made two one-off capital returns totalling more than A$1 billion in the past year.

Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways have already restarted paying dividends after the global financial crisis. – (Bloomberg)

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