Air Partner dives as profits plunge

Air Partner, an aircraft charter broker, saw full year revenues and profits drop, which it blamed on a tough economic environment and going up against good numbers in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Air Partner, an aircraft charter broker, saw full year revenues and profits drop, which it blamed on a tough economic environment and going up against good numbers in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Revenues for the year ending July 31st 2012 were down 19.3% at £227.6m from £281.9m the year before, with reported pre-tax profits dropping 22.6% to £4.1m from £5.3m. Underlying profit before tax, which excludes non-trading items, slumped 43.9% to £3.2m from £6.7m the previous year.

Despite this, it has hiked its total dividend for the year by 10% to 18.2p per share.

Air Partner revealed that the commercial jet broking sector remains challenging, with aircraft overcapacity and tough prior year comparables - due to increased charters during the Arab Spring. Revenues from commercial jet broking decreased 18% to £138.9m with a 51% fall in underlying profit before tax to £1.6m.

On the plus side, private jet revenues rose 8% to £44m, driven by selective investment in sales. Although, even here, underlying profit before tax fell 15% to £1m.

The group is looking to increase market share after investing into the oil and gas sector, which should help offset lower revenues in other parts of the business.

"Overall, we maintain a cautious view for the year ahead but I have every confidence that in spite of the low visibility inherent in our industry, we are positioning the group to achieve growth in our key target areas that will cement Air Partner's position as a leading global aviation broker," said Chief Executive Officer, Mark Briffa.

The company is debt free with cash of £15.7m, quite sizeable given its market cap is only £27m.

CM

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