SANTIAGO (Reuters) - LATAM Airlines is expected to report profit of $2.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, with improved efficiency seen offsetting the effects of unfavorable exchange rates.
The forecast represents a median estimate of six brokerages in a Reuters poll published on Friday. The estimates ranged between a gain of $63 million and a loss of $50 million.
The figure compares with a $8.5 million profit in October through December 2012.
"We expect a clear improvement in operations, mainly due to better cost efficiency, which would more than compensate for lower yields due to the weakening of the (Brazilian) real compared with the dollar," Bice Inversiones said in a report to clients.
Improved administrative efficiency and cost control are seen having boosted Latin America's largest carrier, the product of Chilean flagship airline LAN's acquisition of Brazil's TAM airlines in 2012.
The airline initially battled headwinds in Brazil, but is hoping to turn the corner.
Still, if the poll forecast holds true, LATAM would have lost roughly $232.5 million last year, hit by a weaker real.
LATAM Airlines is expected to report its results next week.
Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Jade Hobman; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Nick Zieminski