Lufthansa looks to play down half-year loss

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Lufthansa has sought to lessen the significance of a €204 million ($270 million) net loss for 2013's first half, insisting its airline divisions are making "good progress" and that last year's result was artificially inflated.

Finance chief Simone Menne says the sale of BMI to IAG, transfer of Austrian operations to Tyrolean Airways and adoption of a new pension accounting method generated "one-off payments" of €325 million in the first six months of 2012.

Restructuring costs of just €27 million last year, compared with €71 million so far in 2013, have also tilted the result, Menne argues. She points to a 40% improvement in operating cash flow.

Without these one-off effects and restructuring costs, the group would have generated a €90 million operating loss in the first half of 2012 and transformed this into a €145 million profit this year, she says.

Lufthansa's airline division, which suffered a €64 million operating loss in 2013, would have cut its losses by €200 million if these one-offs and restructuring costs had been excluded, says Menne. Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian continue to make "good progress" in cost cutting, she adds.

Lufthansa's €91 million operating loss would have translated into a €180 million "bottom-line improvement" and Austrian's €35 million loss would have been slashed to €15 million, says Menne.