January 28, 2014 / 3:24 PM / 4 years ago

American Airlines profit beats estimates; shares rise

People walk past an American Airlines logo on a wall at John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport in in New York November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) - American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O), the world’s biggest carrier after merging with US Airways last year, reported better-than-expected adjusted profit and revenue as fares climbed and fuel costs fell, sending its shares up 3.4 percent.

The company reported a net loss of $2 billion, or $8.66 a share on Tuesday, in the fourth quarter through December 31, after charges of $2.4 billion relating to its reorganization.

Excluding those charges, combined profit was $436 million for American’s former parent AMR Corp and US Airways, compared with a year-earlier loss of $42 million. Adjusted profit was 59 cents a share, higher than the 55 cents a share expected by analysts surveyed by Reuters.

The merger of American and US Airways on December 9, the fourth major union in the U.S. airline industry since 2008, was the means by which American parent AMR emerged from U.S. bankruptcy protection.

Combined revenue grew 8.7 percent to $9.98 billion, better than the $9.9 billion expected by analysts. Yield, a measure of the average fare, rose 5 percent.

Operating expenses were up 7 percent on a combined basis, but costs for fuel - the carrier’s biggest expense - fell 1.7 percent.

Shares of American Airlines Group were up 3.4 percent to $31.20 in morning trading.

American significantly pared costs in bankruptcy, and the merger gave its biggest unions equity stakes in the new company.

Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Jeff Benkoe and Bernadette Baum

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