October 21, 2018 / 10:20 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Virgin Australia Holdings sees H1 profit of at least A$100 mln

(Adds quarterly performance metrics, background)

Oct 22 (Reuters) - Virgin Australia Holdings said on Monday it expected underlying before-tax profit for the first half of fiscal 2019 to be at least A$100 million ($71.22 million), 22 percent higher than last year after adjusting for some cashflow hedging costs.

The company had reported underlying profit of A$102.5 million in the first half of fiscal 2018, but compared its expected profit to the year-ago figure after adjusting for cash flow hedging costs of A$20.7 million.

The expected underlying profit for the first half ending Dec. 31, the company said in a statement, included an estimated fuel price increase of A$88 million over the previous year.

Australia’s No. 2 airline swung to an annual underlying profit earlier this year, helped by its domestic business and had said then that strong momentum in forward bookings was expected to lead to a profitable 2019 first half.

In Monday’s filing to the Australian Securities Exchange, the company also said group revenue in the first quarter ended Sept. 30 rose 9.7 percent over the prior corresponding quarter, beating an earlier guidance of at least 7 percent growth.

It added that it expected second quarter revenue to grow 10 percent compared to the prior quarter, based on ongoing booking trends, particularly in the domestic business. ($1 = 1.4041 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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