Ryanair posts 21% profit drop | Shopping centres owner’s £320m loss | Newspapers chief quits

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Ryanair has reported a 21 per cent fall in profits to €243 million (£219m) in the first quarter of this financial year.

The low-cost airline cited lower fares and higher costs for fuel and staff as reasons for the decline during the three months to the end of June.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “The two weakest markets were Germany, where Lufthansa was allowed to buy Air Berlin and is selling this excess capacity at below cost prices, and the UK, where Brexit concerns weigh negatively on consumer confidence and spending.”

The airline said its average fares fell 6% year on year during the quarter, but this was partially offset by 14% higher ancillary revenue, such as baggage, food and other extras.

 Ryanair warns on growth

The drop in fares is expected to continue during the summer season, and across the whole financial year will be “towards the lower end” of minus 2% to plus 1%, it added.

Earlier this month, the firm slashed its expected growth rate for summer 2020 from 7% to 3% amid a delay in deliveries of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

It was due to have 58 of the planes for that season, but now expects to receive just 30.

The airline believes deliveries will begin in “January at the earliest”, Ryanair said on Monday.

Mr O’Leary added that the airline will “continue to negotiate attractive growth deals as airports compete to attract Ryanair’s reliable traffic growth”.

Passenger numbers are expected to grow by 7% to more than 152 million for the year to March 31 2020, which is slightly less than the 153 million previously forecast due to the Max delays.

 Boeing faces £3.9bn charge to cover compensation to airlines 

The forecast for profits after tax for the year remains unchanged at between €750m and €950m (£675m-£850m).

Retail landlord Hammerson swung to a loss of £319.8 million in the six months to June 30.

On an adjusted basis, profits were down 10.5% to £107.4 million.

Net rental income dropped 12.3% to £156.6 million.
The group suffered a net revaluation loss on its property portfolio of £423.4 million in the first half.

More than half of this was down to its flagship shopping destinations in the UK, which had a revaluation deficit of £266 million.

 Shopping centres owner posts £266.7m loss after ‘tenant failures’

Hammerson also announced that it had achieved 90% of its target to sell off £500 million worth of assets.

This included a £423 million deal with AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets for a 75% stake in Paris’s Italie Deux shopping centre.

Hammerson’s chief executive David Atkins said: “Our absolute priority remains to reduce debt. We stated our intention to achieve over £500 million of disposals in 2019 and even in this tough environment where deals are taking longer to transact, we are now most of the way there.

“We will continue to pursue additional sales throughout 2019 and into 2020 to further strengthen our balance sheet.”

The firm owns Silverburn Shopping Centre, Glasgow, Abbotsinch Retail Park, Paisley, Central Retail Park in Falkirk and the Union Square Centre in Aberdeen. 

Simon Fox, the chief executive of Daily Mirror, Daily Record and Daily Express owner Reach Plc, will step down next month, the company has said.

He will be succeeded by Jim Mullen, a former chief executive of Ladbrokes Coral.

Mr Fox said: “There is never an ideal time to leave an organisation, but if there were it would be now.

“The integration of the Express and Star has been successfully completed, digital growth is accelerating and our trading and cash position are strong.

“I am proud of what has been achieved and will provide Jim with whatever support is required to ensure a smooth handover.”

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