February 13, 2008 / 1:42 PM / 10 years ago

WestJet profit lifted by demand

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.

Sean Durfy, president of West Jet, addresses shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Calgary, Alberta, May 1, 2007. WestJet nearly tripled as strong demand and a big one-time tax adjustment lifted results, Canada's No. 2 passenger carrier said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Todd Korol

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

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