SpiceJet flies back to profit with Rs22.5-cr Q4 net

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet Ltd on Thursday reported a net (after-tax) profit of Rs22.52 crore ($3.53 million) for the fiscal fourth quarter ended 31 March 2015, the first profit in seven quarters.

SpiceJet also reported a positive EBITDA of Rs80 crore, against a negative Rs235 crore in the previous year, the airline said.

Income from operations, however, declined by almost 40 per cent to Rs786.32 crore in the January-March 2015 quarter compared to Rs1,300.75 crore in the January-March quarter of the 2013-14 fiscal, the airline said in a release.

SpiceJet, which reported a Rs322-crore net loss for the same period last year, had almost collapsed in December before being bailed out by overseas loans.

The country's fourth-largest airline by market share, SpiceJet had to reduce the size of its fleet and focus on negotiating settlements and restructuring contracts to cut costs further.

"These results indicate that a recovery is in progress, and is the first tangible evidence of the ongoing revival," chairman Ajay Singh, who led the rescue package for the airline, said in a statement.

''We still have a lot of work to do. Our results show the resilience of the SpiceJet brand, and the unwavering faith, passion, and commitment of each and every employee of the airline,'' he added.

SpiceJet said earlier this month indicated plans to raise more funds and start rebuilding its run-down fleet as it tries to win back customers.

Its market share slumped to 9.4 per cent in the January-March quarter, DGCA data shows, down from 18.1 per cent a year earlier.

The airline has registered a healthy load factor of 81 per cent during January-March 2015 period of the previous fiscal, as it continued its strategy of demand stimulation to maximise revenues.

''SpiceJet is clearly turning the corner under the new promoter. I firmly believe this is the start of what will be a noted as a historic airline turnaround,'' COO Sanjiv Kapoor said.

SpiceJet survived extinction early this year following the present promoter Ajay Singh coming to its rescue, acquiring the entire 58.4 per cent from the erstwhile promoter Kalanithi Maran family, which entailed phased investment of Rs1,500 crore.

Singh pumped in a further Rs500 crore in the carrier since and recently infused Rs300 crore by way of low-cost debt and trade finance.