March 21, 2018 / 6:19 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kenya Airways says 9-mth pretax loss at 5.97 bln shillings

(Adds CEO comment, details, background)

NAIROBI, March 21 (Reuters) - Kenya Airways reported on Wednesday nine-month pretax loss of 5.97 billion shillings ($59.03 million) and an after tax loss of 6.1 billion shillings, hurt by a prolonged election period in the country and rising fuel prices.

Nine-month operating profit stood at 1.3 billion shillings, acting Chief Financial Officer Hellen Mwariri said.

Kenya spent most of 2017 conducting elections, which in addition to effects of drought, hit economic growth.

The elections contributed to a 20 percent drop in domestic traffic, including in its East Africa markets, said Chief Executive Sebastian Mikosz.

The airline, which is changing its financial year to match the calendar year, said passenger numbers stood at 3.4 million in the nine months to end-December.

The airline completed a $2 billion debt restructuring in November as part of revival plans after a drop in Kenyan travel and high financing costs on new Boeing jets resulted in the country’s biggest ever corporate loss - 26 billion shillings - in its 2016 financial year.

Kenya Airways reported pretax loss for the full year to end March 2017 of 10.2 billion shillings, while after tax loss was 9.96 billion shillings. Operating profit was 897 million shillings.

$1 = 101.1000 Kenyan shillings Reporting by George Obulutsa and Omar Mohammed; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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