* Q2 EPS C$0.13 vs C$0.16 last year
* Revenue falls 6 pct
* Sees 2-4 pct drop in consolidated gross billings for 2009
Aug 14 (Reuters) - Groupe Aeroplan Inc AER.TO, which operates Air Canada’s ACa.TO frequent flier program, posted a lower quarterly profit on Friday and said it expects a decline in consolidated gross billings for the year.
For the second quarter, Aeroplan earned C$26.7 million, or 13 Canadian cents a share, down from C$31.5 million, or 16 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.
Aeroplan said lower net earnings reflected reduced margins, driven by higher average cost of rewards per mile redeemed for the quarter as well as higher income tax expense tied to Canadian operations.
Revenue, including gross billings, fell to C$337.8 million from C$357.8 million.
Excluding charges, the loyalty program operator earned C$52.3 million or 26 Canadian cents a share. Analysts were expecting the company to earn 28 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$357.6 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
Aeroplan said it expects a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in consolidated gross billings for 2009.
“We believe the uncertainty surrounding Air Canada has had an additional impact on our Canadian business, ultimately influencing the average per card spend in our financial partner portfolio, which was also impacted, both by a decline in business travel and the recession,” Chief Executive Rupert Duchesne said.
Aeroplan shares closed at C$9.88 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)