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IAG ( including the brands British Airways and Iberia ) Profits triple in roller coaster year for the Spanish firm.







The Spanish company International Consolidated Airlines Group  (IAG) which includes British Airways and Iberia topped the financial index after it announced profits of £828 million. Shares gained 5 per cent, or 23.5p at 583.0p  A happy chief executive Willie Walsh also upgraded its 2015 profit forecast by more than 20 per cent, helped by mothballing its own cargo freighter fleet, and buying spot Cargo loadspace as needed from QATAR Airways, and offloading a share in the Amadeus computer reservation system.
 
Strangely they defaulted on a couple of off-balance sheet aircraft leases, but said to be in positive talks with the lessors.  The company reports Iberia continues to experience problems in repatriating cash balances held in Venezuela relating to an Iberia acquisition, the airline Vueling, with all balances relating to 2013 receipts and seven months of 2014 receipts being trapped in Venezuela.
 
As a result of Iberia’s initial investment in Vueling, the Business combination was achieved in stages. The Group revalued its initial investment in Vueling to fair value at the acquisition date resulting in a non-cash loss of €17 million recognised in the Loss on sale of property, plant and equipment and investments line in the year to December 31, 2013. Vueling operating profit was €141 million, a €2 million improvement over prior year. Vueling’s focus in 2014 was given as flexible growth with capacity up 24 per cent, and new bases in Brussels and Rome, plus a new collective agreement with crew. Vueling introduced 20 additional aircraft by year end with a total fleet of 88. Revenue was up 22.0 per cent and operating margin was 8.2 per cent.  
 
An exceptional charge has been recognised in the year revaluing the cash balance to better reflect the economic reality,    IAG also offloaded the Iberia stake in Amadeus the worldwide online booking system. BA having a stake in the rival Galileo system.  British Airways’ defined benefit pension plan assets increased by €400 million from higher interest rates, offset by the sale of Iberia’s investment in Amadeus. 
 
Lower fuel costs and a robust aircraft replacement program  has contributed to profitability.  Commenting on the IAG takeover of Aer Lingus, CEO Willie Walsh said that they didn't foresee 'many if any competition issues' from the EU competition commission. 



IAG period highlights on results:
 
Fourth quarter operating profit €260 million (2013: operating profit of €113 million) before exceptional items

 Revenue for the quarter up 9.9 per cent to €5,015 million, up 5.8 per cent at constant currency  Non-fuel unit costs for the quarter down 0.8 per cent at constant currency 

Operating profit for the year to December 31, 2014 of €1,390 million (2013: operating profit of €770 million) before exceptional items

Revenue for the year up 8.0 per cent to €20,170 million and passenger unit revenue for the year down 0.4 per cent at constant currency 

Fuel unit costs for the year down 7.8 per cent also down 7.8 per cent at constant currency. 

Non-fuel unit costs before exceptional items for the year down 1.9 per cent, down 3.9 per cent at constant currency 

Cash of €4,944 million at December 31, 2014 was up €1,311 million on 2013 year end  

Adjusted gearing up 1 point to 51 per cent and adjusted net debt to EBITDAR improved 0.6 to 1.9 times


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