June 17, 2019 / 5:33 AM / 3 months ago

Lufthansa lowers 2019 profit forecast, cites price competition

FRANKFURT, June 17 (Reuters) - German airline Lufthansa on Sunday lowered its profit outlook for the full year 2019, citing intense competition from low-cost rivals over prices in Europe.

The group’s adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin was forecast at between 5.5% and 6.5%, down from 6.5% to 8% previously, Lufthansa said in a statement.

This would entail a pretax EBIT of between 2 billion euros and 2.4 billion euros ($2.24 billion-$2.69 billion), compared with the previously targeted 2.4 billion euros to 3 billion euros, it said.

“Yields in the European short-haul market, in particular in the group’s home markets Germany and Austria, are affected by sustained overcapacities caused by carriers willing to accept significant losses to expand their market share,” it said.

It also cited overcapacities and high jet fuel costs, which it said could exceed last year’s figure by 550 million euros, despite a recent fall in crude oil prices.

Lufthansa said it would make a provision for a tax risk to the amount of 340 million euros in its first half 2019 accounts, relating to an open tax matter in Germany originating in the years between 2001 and 2005. ($1 = 0.8917 euros) (Reporting by Vera Eckert, Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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