Continental Airlines Posts Narrower 4Q Loss

Losses totaled $43 million, or 53 cents per share, versus a year-earlier loss of $208 million, or $3.16 per share.


Continental Airlines Inc. said Tuesday it posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss, as higher revenue and cost-cutting efforts offset sharply higher fuel costs.

Losses totaled $43 million, or 53 cents per share, versus a year-earlier loss of $208 million, or $3.16 per share. The latest results included a gain of $106 million related to the sale of Copa stock and other special charges of $21 million. Excluding these special items, the nation's fifth-largest airline recorded a loss of $128 million, or $1.58 per share.

Revenue increased 17 percent to $2.85 billion from $2.44 billion, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected the company to post a loss of $1.68 per share on sales of $2.82 billion.

Fuel expenses spiked nearly 58 percent in the quarter, driving its operating costs up 13 percent.

For the full year 2005, Houston-based Continental posted a loss of $68 million, or 97 cents per share, versus a loss of $409 million, or $6.25 per share, a year ago. Excluding one-time items, losses totaled $205 million, or $2.93 per share.

The company said the loss was the result of increased competition from low-cost carriers and the inability to recover, through fare increases, the higher cost of fuel. Full-year revenue grew 13 percent to $11.21 billion from $9.99 billion.

Wall Street had expected the company to post a full-year loss of $2.80 per share on revenue of $11.19 billion.


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