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Singapore Airlines Q3 profit falls 14.6 pct on fuel costs, but beats forecasts


SINGAPORE (AFX) - Singapore Airlines (SIA) said its third-quarter to December net profit fell 14.6 pc year-on-year to 396.6 mln sgd as it continued to incur higher costs due to rising jet fuel prices.

Earnings also fell in the absence of exceptional gains which inflated the company's net profit in the three months to December 2004, SIA said.

The third quarter to December 2005 net profit, however, came in above the 314-380 mln sgd range of forecasts of analysts polled by XFN-Asia.

SIA said that taking out the exceptional gains booked in the previous year from the sale of investment in Air New Zealand, its third-quarter net profit would have declined by 7.6 pct.

Sales in the third quarter improved to 3.56 bln sgd from 3.20 bln a year ago on the back of growth in carriage and yields for both passenger and cargo operations.

The airline said its expenditure on fuel, net of hedging, rose 49.2 pct to 1.18 bln sgd, with fuel accounting for 37.2 pct of its total expenditure, up from 28.4 pct a year ago.  

"Higher fuel price alone added 243 mln sgd to group expenditure," SIA said.

"Fuel prices remained high by historical standard, and continue to be a concern to the group," it said.
Separately, SIA said it has renewed the service contract of its chief executive officer Chew Choon Seng, whose current contract will expire on June 8.  

Chew's contract has been renewed for another three years, SIA said.

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