When Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) was forecasting its financial results for 2019, it expected the year to begin slower than the prior-year. Well, the forecast was correct, as the German giant falls from profitability to millions in losses.
Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) reported an adjusted operating loss (EBIT) of €336 million in the first quarter of 2019. Last year, the European giant was reporting a positive EBIT of €52 million over the same period.
Sales for the first quarter increased by 3%, to €7.9 billion, but the group explains that its quarterly results were affected by a €202 million euros increase in fuel costs when compared to last year. Moreover, the company points at market-wide overcapacities in Europe along with other factors.
In 2018, the group had spent €6.1 billion euros on fuel, an increase of €850 million compared to the previous year. Already at the time, the group said that it expected to see an increase of €650 million in 2019.
The company also notes that the basis of comparison with 2018 was quite unbalanced as, in that same period a year prior, the group sold Air Berlin (AB1) , which led to particularly strong first-quarter results.
Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) reminded that when the results for 2018 were presented, it was expecting “earnings for the first quarter of 2019 were likely to be down from their prior-year level“.
As for the second quarter, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) expects to increase unit revenues, based on favorable booking levels. “We are seeing good booking levels for the quarter ahead,” says Ulrik Svensson, Chief Financial Officer of Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) , adding that “at the same time, we have substantially reduced our own capacity growth.“
Its forecast over the full year of 2019 remains unchanged: 6.5% to 8.0% of operating margin, compared to 7.9% in 2018.