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SANTIAGO, March 15 Regional carrier LATAM
Airlines posted a net profit of $69 million for all of
2016 on Wednesday, its first yearly profit since the company
formed four years ago, helped by improving conditions in key
The Chile-based airline, Latin America's largest, posted a
$54 million profit for the fourth quarter. Both figures beat
forecasts by analysts surveyed by Reuters, who saw on average a
2016 profit of $23.5 million and a fourth-quarter profit of $8.5
"The good results can be explained principally by Brazil,
given the appreciation of the real currency and the reduction of
capacity, as well as fleet readjustments," said Gisela Escobar,
direct of investor relations, during a presentation of the
results on Wednesday evening.
LATAM said it was reducing its 2016-2018 fleet commitment by
$2.2 billion. It maintained its guidance for a 2017 operating
margin of between 6 and 8 percent. Fleet commitments for 2018
will amount to $555 million, a reduction of $1 billion compared
with Sept. 16, the airline said.
The company forecast that available seat miles, a measure of
capacity, would grow 1 to 2 percent in 2017, a boost over its
2016 guidance of between -1 and 1 percent.
Economic difficulties in Brazil, LATAM's key market, had
caused problems for the carrier in recent years. In 2015, the
company posted a net loss of $219 million, largely thanks to
depreciation in that nation's currency.
LATAM was founded in 2012 through a tie-up between Chile's
LAN and Brazil's TAM. In December, Qatar Airways completed an
acquisition of 10 percent of the company, in a transaction worth
(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie