May 24, 2018 / 7:56 AM / a year ago

Jet Airways sinks on March-quarter disappointment

(Reuters) - Shares of Jet Airways (India) Ltd on Thursday plunged to an over 15-month low after the company posted a 10.36 billion-rupee ($151.64 million) loss for the March quarter, as the aviation industry is grappling with higher fuel prices.

People watch a passenger aircraft belonging to India's private airline Jet Airways land at Mumbai airport April 11, 2007. REUTERS/Arko Dutta/Files

Aircraft fuel expenses surged 31 percent for the quarter while foreign exchange losses amounted to 1.32 billion rupees, the country's second-largest airline by market share said in a statement on Wednesday.

Jet Airways flagged that it has incurred a loss during the year and has a negative net worth that “may create uncertainties.” It added that it is working to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and raise funds to address any uncertainties.

The auditors, referring to the company’s note on the uncertainties it may face, said that the assumption of operating as a going concern depends on Jet Airways realising various initiatives it has undertaken to raise funds or generate cash flows to meet its future obligations.

“Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter,” they said.

“Jet has been hurt more as they have more exposure in high competition routes and they face IndiGo in most of these places,” said Gagan Dixit, analyst with Elara Capital.

Jet’s bigger rival IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, had reported a 73 percent slump in March-quarter profit.

IndiGo shares were trading 0.47 percent higher while those of Spicejet Ltd were down 3.45 percent.

“Slightly lower yields, plus maintenance expense and exchange losses affected them in this quarter. The loss is a negative surprise ... I’d expected a marginal profit of 250 million rupees,” Dixit said.

Oil prices continue to remain a concern, he added.

Shares were down 6.9 percent as at 0740 GMT, after falling as much as 12.1 percent to 370.05 rupees earlier in the session.

The stock may fall up to 332.6 rupees, which is the 100 pct Fibonacci retracement of  the uptrend from Dec 27, 2017 low to Jan 5, 2018 high.

($1 = 68.3200 Indian rupees)

Additional reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru and Aditi Shah in New Delhi

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