Malaysian Airline's Q1 net loss widens on forex, finance costs

Malaysian Airline's Q1 net loss widens on forex, finance costs

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS), the country's national carrier, posted a bigger net loss in first-quarter, hurt mainly by foreign exchange loss and finance costs.

MAS reported a 278.8 million ringgit (S$115.5 million) loss in the three months that ended in March, compared with 171.8 million ringgit net loss a year earlier. No forecast was available for the quarter according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"The group remains cautiously optimistic of its performance for the rest of the year," MAS said in a local stock exchange filing on Wednesday.

"While the carrier's operating statistics for the first quarter showed strong growth, the business environment is getting tougher," it added.

Added capacity in the market, increased competition and continued high jet fuel prices are putting pressure on yields, said MAS.

Its local peer AirAsia Bhd, Southeast Asia's biggest budget airline by passenger traffic, posted a 39.23 per cent fall in first-quarter profits on May 22, hurt mainly by higher finance costs and a foreign exchange loss on borrowings.

Shares in MAS are up about 21.2 per cent so far this year, outperforming an increase of around 14.6 per cent for local peer AirAsia.

MAS possesses a forward 12 month price-to-earnings ratio (PER) of 70.1 times, the highest forward PER among 85 airlines companies in the world, according to StarMine.

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