Norwegian lifts full-year pre-tax profits for 2012

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Low-cost carrier Norwegian nearly quadrupled pre-tax and net profits in 2012, while revenues grew more than a fifth to NKr12.9 billion ($2.3 billion) over the previous year.

Earnings before interest and tax were down 3% to NKr 403.5 million. But when interest is excluded, pre-tax earnings shot up from NKr166.5 million in 2011 to NKr623.2 million last year.

Net profit grew similarly by 274% to NKr456.6 million in 2012.

The fast-growing carrier lifted passenger numbers up 13% to 17.7 million. Load factor remained unchanged at 79%.

Revenues for the fourth quarter were up 22% to NKr3.1 billion and passenger numbers up 10% to 4.37 million.

Norwegian's fourth-quarter pre-tax profits stood at NKr23 million, compared with a loss of nearly NKr188 million in the same period in 2011.

In EBIT terms, Norwegian was able to reduce its NKr85.3 million deficit in 2011 to a loss of nearly NKr52 million last year.

Norwegian chief executive Bjørn Kjos says that traffic grew "solidly" in 2012 while the airline had "necessary expenses" in establishing additional operational bases in Spain and Thailand. The carrier will begin flights to Bangkok as part of its new long-haul operations.

Norwegian took delivery of 13 Boeing 737-800s in 2012. This year, it plans to introduce 14 737s and three 787s into its fleet.