easyJet shares fly on fantastic figures

Full-year profits have increased by 51% for easyJet, helping push the shares up by over 6% in the first couple of hours of trading.

Although many airlines (not least Ryanair) have struggled this year, easyJet have posted figures at the top end of the range of expected profits. Pre-tax profits of £478 million for 2013 have been helped higher by improving profit margins and a sales increase of 10.5% in sales.

On top of this good news, the company is planning to return £175 million as a special one-off dividend. This means that in total, along with the normal dividends, the firm will pay out £308 million to shareholders.

Part of the reason that the company has been able to outperform its rivals has been down to better hedging and management of fuel costs, as well as a more aggressive policy of taking on additional routes when competitors have decided to reduce them. Similarly to British Airways, easyJet has benefited from an upturn in passenger numbers since the 2012 London Olympics.

easyJet shares are up around 73% on-the-year, although have drifted off August highs and plateaued in the last couple of months. Having done so well and outperformed its rivals so comprehensively it will be interesting to see how much more blue sky the markets will credit the airline with.

easyJet chart

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