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UPDATE: Air nz expects 1H pre-tax earnings of $166.8 mln

UPDATE: Air New Zealand expects 1H pre-tax earnings of $166.8 mln, on target to exceed FY earnings

(Includes dollar figure in lead, headline, removes 3rd graph)

By Tina Morrison

Dec. 10 (BusinessDesk) - Air New Zealand, the national carrier, expects first half pre-tax earnings of $166.8 million on optimism about its December bookings and on certainty about redundancy costs.

The Auckland-based carrier said it expects normalised earnings before tax to increase about 20 percent in the six months ending Dec. 31, including about $10 million of redundancy costs from $139 million a year earlier.

Air New Zealand said it has made "good progress" so far this financial year and is on target to exceed last year's full-year earnings. It didn't provide further details of its full year estimate.

Last financial year, the company more than doubled annual profit to $182 million as it squeezed more revenue from a rising volume of passengers and benefited from favourable foreign exchange movements.

Shares in Air New Zealand rose 0.9 percent to $1.645. New Zealand's government sold a 20 percent holding in the company last month at $1.65 a share, reducing its stake to 53 percent.

The company said today it carried 1.1 percent more passengers in November than the same month last year. Revenue passenger kilometres fell 0.4 percent as capacity declined 2.5 percent, while its group load factor increased 1.8 percentage points to 83.2 percent.


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