Australia Markets closed

Virgin shares down at noon


Virgin Australia shares were down in morning trade as the airline failed to give earnings guidance after reporting a return to profitability.

At 1245 AEST on Tuesday, Virgin was down 1.75 cents, or 3.65 per cent, at 46.25 cents on a day the broader market was broadly flat.

Earlier, Virgin said net profit for the 12 months to June 30, 2012 came in at $22.8 million, a sharp turnaround from a $67.8 million loss in the prior corresponding period.

Revenue grew 19.8 per cent to $3.9 billion, Virgin said in a statement.

Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said the airline's successful targeting of corporate and government travellers, who tend to pay higher fares and now made up 20 per cent of total revenue, was a key factor in the improved result.

However, he said the uncertain economic environment meant it was not possible to offer earnings guidance for the 2012/13 financial year.

Commsec market analyst Juliana Roadley said the full year result was a very strong set of numbers, but the lack of a clear outlook statement had hurt the share price on Tuesday.

"The fact they haven't provided guidance seems to be holding back the share price at the moment," Ms Roadley said.

The airline did say however it planned to grow domestic capacity by eight to nine per cent during the first half of 2012/13.

This compared with 9.6 per cent growth across Virgin's domestic network in 2011/12, when it replaced smaller Boeing 737 aircraft with wide-bodied Airbus A330s on some flights between Perth and Australia's east coast and increased frequencies on some key corporate routes.

Last week, Qantas Airways announced planned domestic capacity growth of between nine and 11 per cent for the first half of 2012/13, to be split between Jetstar and the Flying Kangaroo's Australian operations.

Mr Borghetti said Virgin would start a three-year business project aimed at delivering about $400 million in productivity gains.

"This project will be structured to ensure we have a sustainable cost advantage in the future," Mr Borghetti said.

Virgin cited an "uncertain economic environment" for opting not to pay a dividend.