Thai Airways Q3 net loss 4.78 bln baht vs loss 913 mln

BANGKOK (XFNews) - State-owned Thai Airways International reported a third quarter to June net loss of 4.78 bln baht, attributing the result to skyrocketing jet fuel costs and increased personnel expenses.

Net losses for April to June 2005, which included operating cost losses of 3.21 bln baht, were more than five times the 913 mln baht shed in the same quarter in 2004, it said.

The company said it would have recorded far deeper losses for the quarter had it not reversed an additional 2.08 bln baht in income tax payments.

Its nine months from October 2004 to June 2005 results showed a net profit of 4.43 bln baht, almost 50 pct less than the level a year earlier, Thai's acting president Somchainuk Engtrakul said.

Previous president Kanok Abhiradee was suspended by the board last week for three months amid reports the carrier was in dire financial straits, after posting 10.4 bln baht in profit in the two previous quarters.

"Factors adversely impacting third-quarter results include abnormally high fuel prices that have increased by 55.1 pct over the same period last year," in line with surging global oil prices, the company said.

The airline, in which the finance ministry has a 54.2 pct stake, also cited increased personnel expenses, including implementation of an early retirement program, and foreign exchange losses.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Somchainuk, who has been given full authority as the company's sole decision-maker, will investigate weak management at Thai Airways.

Last Thursday, Transport Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said there was an "extremely urgent" need to salvage the carrier.

Earlier this month the government ordered Thai Airways to postpone its acquisition of two Airbus 340s in order to ease the company's financial burden and to help the country's current account and trade deficits.

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