Volga-Dnepr profit falls but An-124 order still planned

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Russia's Volga-Dnepr Group has posted a decrease in profits for 2011 despite higher sales revenue, but maintains its commitment to order 20 Antonov An-124 freighters.

Under international accounting standards, consolidated net income fell by 75% to $59 million while gross earnings grew 10% to $1.74 billion.

The group's charter and scheduled divisions transported 373,000t of cargo, with combined traffic rising 8%.

While disclosing the company's financial performance, senior vice-president Sergei Shklyanik declined to comment on the reasons behind the profit drop.

But he indicates that the company has a substantial bank loan programme and plans to increase borrowings to $250-300 million this year, up from $186 million in 2011.

Over the next few months, it also intends to place a firm order for the construction of 20 modified Antonov An-124-300 outsize freighters at Ulyanovsk-based aiframer Aviastar.

Vice-president Valery Gabriel adds that the proposed agreement with United Aircraft will include an option for a further 20 freighters, bringing the total potential value of the deal to $8 billion.