Ryanair will focus on key European markets such as Germany to drive growth this year, its executives said after releasing results showing it made €867 million profit in the 12 months to March 31st.
The Irish airline expects profits for the current financial year, which ends on March 31st 2016, to be between €940 million and €970 million, although it said yesterday this would be subject to revenues during the second half of that period.
Ryanair aims to carry 100 million passengers over those 12 months, 11 per cent more than the number of people that flew with it during the financial year that ended on March 31st.
Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said Germany would be its "number one" focus as it sought to recruit new passengers. The airline has just a 4 per cent share of the country's air travel market.
Mr Jacobs said this was because it had not had the aircraft to tackle the market up to now, while the fact that Germany charged €7.50 per passenger travel tax also acted as a disincentive to entering it in the first place.
However, it now has the capacity, as it has begun taking delivery of 180 new planes it is buying from US manufacturer
. It is also continuing to lobby for a cut in the travel tax.
Chief commercial officer David O'Brien said Germany's airports were keen to attract new business, as the numbers travelling with local operators such as Lufthansa and Air Berlin were falling. "We are talking to pretty much all of them, around 15 airports, at the moment," O'Brien said.
Ryanair said yesterday that revenues rose 12 per cent to €5.6 billion from €5 billion in its last financial year. Operating profits rose 65 per cent to €1 billion from €658 million.
The airline’s profit for the period was up 66 per cent at €867 million, €17 million ahead of the €850 million that it predicted last January, when it released its third-quarter results. The full-year profit is also more than the €860 million forecast by analysts.
Ryanair changed its guidance five times over the last 12 months. Its original estimate for the 2014-2015 financial year was in the €580 million- €620 million range.
In the 12 months ended March 31st, 90.6 million people flew with Ryanair, 11 per cent more than the 81.7 million passengers it carried during the previous financial year.
Its earnings per share rose 69 per cent to 62.59 cent from 36.96 cent. Net assets at the end of the year were €4 billion, against €3.3 billion 12 months earlier. The balance sheet showed that net cash grew to €364 million from €158 million.
Ryanair has hedged 90 per cent of this year’s fuel needs at $92 a barrel, while oil has been trading at about $60. However, it pointed out that it had also hedged the dollar, used to buy the fuel, at $1.33 to €1, against a current rate of $1.11.
It would not comment on the €1.36 billion bid by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) for Aer Lingus, in which Ryanair has a 29.8 per cent share, saying it would consider any offer for the shares on its merits "if or when it is received".
Ryanair plans to ask the British supreme court to overturn an order from the UK Competition and Markets’ Authority demanding that it cut its Aer Lingus holding to 5 per cent.
Ryanair’s shares rose more than 4 per cent shortly after its results were released yesterday morning. They were up 6.53 per cent to €11.59 by mid-afternoon.