UAL Expects to Post 2Q Profit

UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines, on Monday said it expects to report a stronger-than-expected profit for the second quarter, driven by double-digit operating revenue growth and cost controls.

UAL estimated net income at $119 million, or 93 cents per share for the three months ended June 30 versus a loss of $26 million excluding reorganization and special items.

Excluding a severance charge of $22 million, earnings are expected to be $141 million. UAL said its effective tax rate is zero for the period.

Wall Street expects earnings of 46 cents per share, according to a Thomson Financial poll of nine analysts. Their estimates ranged from break even to a profit of 81 cents per share.

UAL expects operating revenue to rise 16 percent to $5.1 billion from $4.4 billion last year; operating earnings are pegged at $260 million compared with $48 million last year.

Analysts expect revenue of $5.04 billion.

The better-than-anticipated results come despite higher fuel costs that have hampered the airline industry. UAL expects to report that second-quarter average jet-fuel costs added 27 percent to $2.16 per gallon from $1.71 per gallon last year.

Revenue per available seat mile is estimated to have risen 12 percent to 12.03 cents.

"We expect to report results that exceed current second quarter consensus expectations because of the continuing benefits of our restructuring, strong revenue growth, and our cost control efforts," said Glenn F. Tilton, United's president, CEO and chairman.

UAL shares rose $1.53, or 5.7 percent, to $28.48 in premarket trading. The company plans to report second-quarter earnings July 31.

For the current quarter, UAL said it has 28 percent of its planned fuel consumption hedged at $1.66 per gallon, excluding taxes. The company anticipates third-quarter capacity - measured by available seat miles - to increase by 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

UAL said the second-quarter guidance is designed to help potential investors assess a $726 million debt offering mandated by the company's bankruptcy reorganization to take place by Aug. 1. UAL emerged from bankruptcy protection in February after 38 months.

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