February 8, 2008 / 12:31 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1 -ACE Aviation lands lower operating profit

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TORONTO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - ACE Aviation Holdings Inc ACEa.TOACEb.TO, the parent of Canada’s biggest airline, reported a lower fourth-quarter operating profit on Friday compared with the same time in 2006.

ACE, which has a 75 percent stake in Air Canada ACa.TO ACb.TO, posted operating income of C$46 million, compared with a year-earlier C$73 million.

The company reported a net income of C$1.13 billion in the fourth-quarter, but reported no earnings per share for the quarter or comparable figures for the previous year.

For all of 2007 it reported income of C$1.4 billion, or C$11.44 a share, compared with C$408 million, or C$3.80 a share for the same time in 2006.

ACE has been winding up its business as a holding company, selling off stakes in its stable of operating companies, which include Air Canada, its regional affiliate Jazz Air JAZ_u.TO, the Aeroplan AER_u.TO program and an aircraft maintenance business.

The proceeds have been used by ACE to repurchase its shares. The company completed a C$1.5 billion buyback of its stock in January. ($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Renato Andrade)

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