July 23, 2018 / 6:15 AM / in 3 months

Ryanair raises Laudamotion loss estimate to 150 mln euros

DUBLIN, July 23 (Reuters) - Ryanair on Monday said it expected Austrian holiday airline Laudamotion, which it agreed to buy earlier this year, to post annual losses of 150 million euros ($176 million), up from an earlier estimate of 100 million.

The Irish airline, which said it plans to increase its stake in Laudamotion to 75 percent from 25 percent in the coming weeks after securing regulatory approval, blamed the higher loss on factors including lower-than-expected summer fares due to the late release of Laudamotion schedules this summer.

“Next year it will get its schedules on sale much earlier, so it won’t have the issues with last minute discounting,” Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorohan told Reuters in an interview. “We will help it out with its fuel hedging and I would expect it to break even towards the back end of year 3.”

Sorohan said Ryanair would consider other acquisition opportunities, but said Ryanair’s key growth would be through organic growth.

Laudamotion also faces “substantial cost headwinds” in fuel as it does not hedge, Ryanair said in a statement of its financial results for the three months to June 30.

Laudamotion also suffered “considerable damage” from a dispute with Lufthansa over leased aircraft, Ryanair said.

$1 = 0.8530 euros Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Jason Neely

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