August 5, 2013 / 12:27 AM / 4 years ago

Virgin Australia warns of annual loss, shares fall

SYDNEY, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd said on Monday it expected to report an annual net loss, blaming a difficult business environment and costs including a new ticketing system and carbon tax, sending its shares down 4 percent.

The company said it expected to report a loss after tax in the range of A$95 million to A$110 million ($84.65 million to $98.02 million) for the year to the end of June, 2013. That compared with market forecasts of a A$34.3 million net profit, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.

Last November, the airline said it anticipated improved underlying profit before tax in 2013 compared to the previous year, but it did not provide profit guidance citing uncertainty in economic conditions and the competitive environment.

The company said the anticipated loss included A$5 million to A$10 million for the recently acquired Skywest business.

Shares in Virgin Australia, which counts Singapore Airlines Ltd, Air New Zealand Ltd and Etihad Airways among its major shareholders, fell as low as A$0.435, down 4.4 percent. ($1 = 1.1223 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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