July 30, 2019 / 8:57 AM / 4 months ago

CORRECTED-Ryanair expects average fares to fall 6% in key summer season (July 29)

(Corrects spelling of name of Ryannair CFO Neil Sorohan in final paragraph)

DUBLIN, July 29 (Reuters) - Ryanair Holdings Plc on Monday warned fares would fall by 6% in its key summer season this year, in part due to overcapacity in Germany and Brexit fears in the United Kingdom, but kept its profit target for the year.

Shares of Europe’s largest low-cost carrier have almost halved in value in two years as the company grappled with overcapacity in Europe, Britain’s plans to leave the European Union and, most recently, delays in delivery of the Boeing 737 MAX.

Ryanair earlier this month halved its growth targets for next year due to delays in deliveries of the 737 MAX. On Monday, it said it expected the first deliveries in January at the earliest.

The airline reported a profit after tax of 243 million euros ($270.36 million) for the three months to June 30, down from 309 million a year earlier. A poll of analysts published by Ryanair ahead of the results had forecast a profit of 232 million euros.

It retained its profit forecast for the year to March 31, 2020 of between 750 million euros and 950 million euros, compared to a forecast of 832 million euros in the analyst poll.

Ryanair said its fares in the three months to the end of June declined 6% from a year earlier and said it expected a similar fall for the remainder of the summer. Average fares for the year to end-March 2020 will be towards the lower end of its guidance range of -2% to +1%, it added.

Ryanair’s shares closed on Friday at 10.02 euros, almost half their peak of 19.39 euros hit two years ago.

Ryanair is one of Boeing’s biggest customers and was due to have 58 737 MAX jets in time for its 2020 summer season. But it now expects to receive just 30 by then in that period.

Ryanair’s chief financial officer, Neil Sorohan, said the timing of plans by its pilots in the United Kingdom and Ireland to ballot for possible industrial action in August was “unusual”, given concerns around the MAX and Brexit, but said the airline was open to talks. ($1 = 0.8988 euros) (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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