Ryanair has released new data indicating its profit increased 11% to €1.29 billion in H1 of 2017. Traffic also grew 11%, to €72 million, thanks to a strong Easter and a 5% reduction in airfares, while revenue rose 7% to €4,425, net margin went up 1pt to €29%, basic EPS grew 16% to €1.07 and unit costs (including fuel savings) fell 5%.
Commenting on the above statistics, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said, "These strong H1 results reinforce the robust nature of Ryanair’s low fare, pan-European growth model, even during a period which suffered a material failure in our pilot rostering function in early September. Prior to this event, we were on track to deliver strong H1 results during which we opened 3 new bases and 80 new routes. We took delivery of 35 new B737’s in the first 6 months of 2017, we stimulated 11% traffic growth with 5% lower airfares, and achieved an industry record load factor of 97% in the peak summer months.
"Ancillary Revenue grew 14%. Customer spend rose 2% as more customers chose optional services such as reserved seats, priority boarding and car hire. H1 unit costs fell 5%, excluding fuel it was flat (but would have fallen 2% without the EU261 provision). Despite traffic growth of 11%, our fuel bill fell 3%. Most other cost headings were broadly flat on a per passenger basis, other than our 'Sales, Marketing & Other', which jumped 30% due to a one-off €25 million EU261 provision, as we quickly addressed the needs of affected customers in September to recover the rostering failure, and eliminate any risk of further cancellations.
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"Our balance sheet remains strong. Operating activity in H1 generated over €935 milliom of net cash. We used this for net capex of €675 million, share buybacks of €639 million, and debt repayments of €200 million. Accordingly, net debt rose from €244 million at 31 March to €600 million at 30 September. We don’t plan any more near term buybacks as we work to finish the fiscal year with a broadly flat net debt/cash position."