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Transat AT reports $13.2 million shortfall

June 15, 2012, Montreal - Transat A.T. Inc. continues to operate in the red.


June 15, 2012
By Carey Fredericks

The Montreal-based travel and vacation company posted a $13.2-million net loss for its latest quarter, the equivalent of 35 cents per diluted share.

Both the North American and European arms of the company had operating losses during the quarter.

Overall revenue for the three months ended April 30 rose by $111 million to $1.2 billion due to an acquisition in Transat's North American arm, offset by lower selling prices and higher costs.

Revenue at Transat's business units in Europe fell by $7.2 million or 3.7 per cent compared with the same time last year.

The company said that sales made in France and Canada for European and North African destinations have been difficult, resulting in a $6.6 million operating loss in the quarter.

In its larger North American arm, Transat had a $19.6 million operating loss — in contrast to a year-earlier margin of $9.8 million.

"Selling prices of sun destination packages to Mexico and Caribbean declined sharply in the second half of the quarter, while fuel costs remained higher, with negative impact on margins,'' Transat president and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said in a statement.

"We remain focused our previously announced plan to return to profitability, which unfolds as planned.''

Eustache is expected to provide more details of the company's financial situation in a conference call with analysts.

It was the fourth quarterly loss in a row for the company, which operates a variety of vacation and travel businesses including the Air Transat airline, packaged holiday operators and travel agencies.

The last profitable quarter was a year ago, when Transat AT had $8.7 million or net income, or 23 cents per share, and $1.1 billion of revenue in the three months ended April 30, 2011.

The union representing Air Transat's 1,800 flight attendants announced Wednesday that its members have voted to support a temporary wage freeze.

Under the plan, the union agrees to suspend the payments of three annual wage increases of one per cent as well as the payment of a lump sum of 1.5 per cent.

In return, says the union, Air Transat agrees to catch up on all salary increases and pay back the money owed by Dec. 15, 2015 at the latest.

On May 1, Air Transat and the union representing its 420 pilots agreed to a similar plan.