To pay dividend of 17 eurocents per share
Madrid – At the Annual General Meeting, Iberia shareholders are today to approve the accounts for 2007, one of the best years in company history. Net earnings by the Iberia Group climbed to 327.6 million euros from the 56.7 million euros posted in 2006, far exceeding the targets set in the 2006-2008 Strategic Plan, and enabling the company to pay its shareholders a dividend of 17 eurocents per share.
Operating earnings in 2007 reached 283.5 million euros, 132% more than the figure for 2006, thanks to a notable improvement in the operating margin, which came to 5.1%, well above the 2.3% posted in 2006. The EBITDAR amounted to 932 million euros, 17.9% above that of the previous year, and showing a 16.9% margin over income, one of the highest among European carriers.
Operating income rose by 2.5% in the year to 5,522 million euros, while operating expenses declined by half a point to 5,238 million euros.
A noteworthy operating income item was aircraft maintenance work for outside clients, which climbed by 25% to 289 million euros, very close to the 300 million target set for 2008 in the Strategic Plan.
Operating expenses showed declines in almost all areas, thanks to the implementation of the measures prescribed in the Strategic Plan. Higher employee productivity and the savings arising from the restructuring of the route network were the largest contributors to the 0.5% decrease in total operating expenses.
The year brought new advances in the optimisation of payroll costs, as productivity climbed by 10%, for a total increase of 23% since the Strategic Plan came into force in 2006.
In addition to this excellent business performance, 2007 brought major improvements to the company’s financial situation. Net liquidity on December 31st came to more than 2,500 million euros, a 45% increase for the year, and the cash position stood at more than 3,000 million euros.
These favourable data were not lost on investors, and the price of Iberia stock rose by 8.7% in the course of the year, while the market index for airlines in general declined by more than 20%.
New Record in Long-Haul Passengers
The 8.1% increase in the number of passengers carried on Iberia’s long-haul flights led to a new all-time record of 4.2 million, while the load factor advanced by 1.6 points to 87.2%, also a company record.
The performance was also reflected in Iberia’s share of the market for flights linking Europe and Latin America, which rose by nearly a whole point in the year to 19.9%, consolidating the company’s leadership position. Meanwhile, its business class market share on these routes climbed by 3.6 points.
In keeping with the 2006-2008 Strategic Plan, Iberia continued to restructure its short- and medium-haul route network in 2007, while increasing supply on its long-haul routes by 6.8%. These routes now account for 57% of total ASKs (available seat kilometres).
Overall, seat occupancy levels rose by 1.8 points to 81.6%. This is another new record for Iberia, and the highest posted by a major European network airline in 2007.
Demand in RPKs (revenue passenger kilometres) increased 3.3%, which was due in part to the addition of seven new Iberia destinations during the year: Algiers, Bucharest, Boston, Washington DC, St. Petersburg, Prague, and Warsaw.