Flybe puts itself up for sale as profits plunge

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 16, 2018

UK-based airline Flybe has put itself up for sale.

Flybe, whose roots date back to 1979, has 78 planes operating from smaller airports such as London City, Southampton and Norwich to destinations in the United Kingdom and Europe.

In March it pulled out of early-stage talks to buy the airline.

The group has 78 planes and serves around eight million customers a year.

It saw group revenues fall 10% or 2.4% on an underlying basis to £409.2 million after it cut capacity by 9%.

Net debt ballooned from £59.1m in March 2018 to £82.1m for the airline's latest period, while cash flow shrank by nearly £25m to £70.6m, with the firm blaming weak sterling.

Julian Tagg said: "Flybe have been a fantastic supporter of our football club and the city of Exeter for many years".

However, the group's capacity had been reduced by 9% while net debt increased to £82.1mln from £59.1mln at the end of previous year, which the company blamed on "the seasonality of cash and adverse sterling movements".

It comes just weeks after Flybe warned over profits following easing demand and a £29 million hit from rising fuel costs and the weak pound.

That warning sent shares in the company plunging by 40%.

Last month, Flybe's chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener said it was reviewing "further capacity and cost-saving measures".

Th company blamed the weaker results on external factors, citing the weaker value of sterling and higher fuel prices had driven up the cost per seat, which together with a softening of market growth, had affected profitability within the European short-haul aviation market.

"We also expect to be consulted by Flybe and potential bidders over any future plans they have for the airline and its employees, and we reserve our right to express our opinion and take any other steps in order to protect our members' interests".

"We are responding to this by reviewing every aspect of our business, especially further capacity reduction, cash management and cost savings", she added.

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