Irish airline Ryanair (LON:RYA) has raised its full-year profits guidance after a sparkling end to 2012.
The company now expects full-year profits to be around €540mln, compared to its previous guidance range of €490mln to €520mln.
In the final quarter of 2012, the third of Ryanair’s financial year, the airline carried 17.3mln passengers, up 3% on the final quarter of 2011.
Revenue rose 15% to €969mln from €844mln the year before and profit after tax climbed 21% to €18.1mln from €14.9mln.
“Our third quarter profit of €18mln was ahead of expectations due to strong pre-Christmas bookings at higher yields,” said Ryanair’s chief executive officer, Michael O’Leary.
The group said its new routes and bases are performing well in their first winter, though some smaller bases such as Budapest and Warsaw are doing so at what the company termed “very low prices”.
While things are going tickety-boo for Ryanair the airline, which pioneered charging extra for services previously included in the seat price, is predicting further capacity cuts and restructuring in the European airline industry.
These trends will create more growth opportunities for Ryanair to grow profitably to 120mln passengers over the next decade, the company claimed.
In a separate announcement, O’Leary revealed that the airline has submitted a package of proposals relating to its proposed takeover of Aer Lingus to the European Union which it believes address every current Ryanair/Aer Lingus crossover route and all other competition issues raised by the Commission in its Statement of Objections.
“The remedies involve two upfront buyers each basing aircraft in Ireland to takeover and operate a substantial part of Aer Lingus's existing route network and short-haul business,” O’Leary said.
Despite the increase in the profits guidance, Ryanair’s shares dipped 2.2% to €5.38 in early trading.