OTTAWA (Reuters) - Fourth-quarter profit at WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO) nearly tripled as strong demand and a big one-time tax adjustment lifted results, Canada's No. 2 passenger carrier said on Wednesday.
WestJet, which has been expanding its network in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean, earned $75.4 million, or 57 Canadian cents a share during the quarter, up from a year-earlier profit of C$26.7 million, or 21 cents a share.
Excluding a $33.7 million tax adjustment, WestJet said earnings rose 56 percent to $41.7 million, or 32 cents a share.
Analysts were expecting an average forecast of 27 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Revenue was $553.4 million, up 22 percent from $452.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.
Full-year earnings rose 68 percent to $192.8 million, or $1.47 a share, from $114.7 million, or 88 cents a share. Revenue increased nearly 22 percent to $2.15 billion.
WestJet, which has enjoyed strong Canadian industry conditions despite a downturn among many U.S. airlines, said its results were helped by cost controls, record load factor and market share gains.
The stock, which closed at $17.30 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday, has gained about 12 percent over the last 12 months.
Reporting by Susan Taylor