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8

Easyjet to Release Annual Results

Budget airline easyJet's annual results on Tuesday are set to take a battering from oil prices, which soared to a record above 147 US dollars a barrel in mid-July

Budget airline easyJet's annual results on Tuesday are set to take a battering from oil prices, which soared to a record above 147 US dollars a barrel in mid-July.

Consensus forecasts put pre-tax profits for the year to September 30 at £115 million - little more than half last year's £202 million.

Passenger numbers are up as the airline benefited from its acquisition of GB Airways from British Airways a year ago, as well as promotions and sales.

But the firm made underlying pre-tax losses of £41.4 million during the first six months of the year and like all rivals in the sector, the group's fuel bill has rocketed. The Luton-based carrier anticipates paying out an extra £185 million this year.

It hopes to offset more than 50% of this through revenues growth and cost savings and has vowed to be "relentless" in addressing costs and efficiency. The company has cut capacity by 12% at Stansted this winter to focus on Gatwick and the GB Airways business.

The results come after British Airways last week said half-yearly profits had nose-dived and announced it was already axing services from its summer 2009 schedule.

EasyJet's woes have not been helped by a boardroom fight between the millionaire founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and the firm's management over dividends.

Sir Stelios - who wants the firm to begin paying dividends at it scales back growth plans - has increased his personal stake in the business to almost 27% and could even oust the current chairman of the business.

Author: Jo Amey