* Q3 adj. EPS C$0.23 vs. est. C$0.25
* Revenue down 3.7 pct
* Sees 4 pct drop in 2009 gross billings
Nov 13 (Reuters) - Groupe Aeroplan Inc AER.TO, which operates Air Canada’s ACa.TO frequent flier program, reported a lower third-quarter profit that also missed market expectations on a drop in gross billings.
Groupe Aeroplan said it would expect to see a decline of about 4 percent in consolidated gross billings for the full year 2009. Earlier, it had expected a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in gross billings.
The company also expects the average cost of rewards per mile redeemed, under the aeroplan program, to remain in the low nineties for the remainder of the year and not to exceed 95 Canadian cents on an annual basis throughout 2010.
For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the loyalty program operator posted net earnings of C$18.8 million ($17.87 million), or 9 Canadian cents a share, down from C$35.0 million, or 18 Canadian cents a share, last year.
Excluding items, the company earned C$45.4 million, or 23 Canadian cents a share.
Revenue fell 3.7 percent to C$322.6 million as gross billings, including currency impact, fell 6 percent to C$335.9 million.
Analysts expected earnings of 25 Canadian cents, excluding items, on revenue of C$344.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of Groupe Aeroplan closed at C$9.80 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=1.052 Canadian dollar) (Reporting by R. Manikandan in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)