Qantas plays down takeover talk as it doubles profits but warns on outlook

City A.M. Reporter
QANTAS Airways sought to play down talk of a takeover bid yesterday as it focuses on expanding in Asia and taming labour unrest over its plans to slash jobs in Australia.

The Australian government said it was determined that majority ownership of the country’s flagship airline should not fall into foreign hands after rumours resurfaced that private equity groups may be circling the company.

The takeover speculation came as Qantas reported its full-year net profit more than doubled, but warned market conditions were volatile and challenging.

Pre-tax profit was A$552m (£351m) for the year ended 30 June, in line with the airline’s forecast in June of between A$500m and A$550m. The bottom line jumped to A$250m from A$112m a year earlier.

Qantas, whose full-year earnings were in line with analyst forecasts, warned it faced challenging conditions in 2012 as it battles labour unrest, higher fuel prices and losses at its international operations.