Brazilian airline Gol posts stronger first quarter on higher revenue and currency gains

A plane of Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA prepares to depart Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

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SAO PAULO, April 28 (Reuters) – Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA (GOLL4.SA) reported better-than-expected first-quarter net profit on Thursday as currency gains helped offset higher fuel prices , pushing up its shares.

The company said operating results were the best since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with quarterly sales above levels seen in the first quarter of 2019, before the health crisis.

Gol’s shares rose 2.6% to 15.08 reais by mid-afternoon, outperforming Brazil’s Bovespa stock index (.BVSP), up 0.4%.

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Gol posted quarterly net profit of 2.6 billion reais ($523.8 million), against a consensus of 394.8 million reais from analysts polled by Refinitiv, reversing losses of several billion reais from the last year and the previous quarter.

Net income was driven primarily by foreign exchange gains, Gol said, as the Brazilian real strengthened strongly against the U.S. dollar during the period.

The company disclosed preliminary traffic data for the first quarter earlier this month, noting that its load factor rose about 1 percentage point from a year ago. Available seat kilometers (ASK) increased by approximately 44%.

Guide Investimentos analysts said Gol’s operating figures were positive and represented a significant improvement despite pressure from macroeconomic factors such as fuel prices and high inflation in Brazil.

“Despite this, we still maintain a cautious view of the sector, which could continue to face such obstacles,” they added.

Gol’s quarterly net revenue more than doubled year-on-year to R$3.2 billion, beating Refinitiv’s forecast of R$2.92 billion.

“Our ability to emerge from one of the worst crises in the airline industry’s history as a more competitive company with strong results is a testament to our flexible business model,” Chief Executive Paulo Kakinoff said.

($1 = 4.9642 reais)

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Reporting by Gabriel Araujo in Sao Paulo Editing by Jan Harvey and Matthew Lewis

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