Ryanair says profits soar 10 percent

DUBLIN Mon Nov 5, 2012 7:23am GMT

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair (RYA.I) said profit in the first half jumped 10 percent, beating expectations thanks to higher fares and a lower fuel bill, prompting Europe's biggest budget airline to raise its guidance for full-year profit.

The Dublin-based airline, which is waiting to hear whether EU regulators will approve its takeover of Aer Lingus (AERL.I), said fares rose 6 percent in the second half, coupled with a surge in passenger numbers during the summer months.

Net profit for the six months to end-September was 596 million euros ($765.6 million), up from 544 million a year ago, ahead of analyst expectations at 564 million. Revenue surged 15 percent to 3.1 billion euros.

The airline lifted its forecast for the year to March to a profit of between 490 million euros and 520 million euros from its previous guidance of 400 million to 440 million euros.

(This story changes to "end-September" from "end-October" in third paragraph)

($1 = 0.7785 euros)

(Reporting by Lorraine Turner; Editing by Richard Pullin)