Brazilian airline Gol posts first-quarter net loss of $59.6 mln

miércoles 14 de mayo de 2014 21:39 GYT

SAO PAULO May 14 (Reuters) - Gol Linhas Aereas SA , Brazil's second-biggest airline, on Wednesday reported a net loss of 131.2 million reais ($59.6 million) for the first quarter, as a weaker currency drove up fuel costs.

The figure was 74 percent wider than a net loss of 75.3 million reais in the first quarter of 2013, the company said in an earnings release. Earnings before interest and taxes, a gauge of operating profit known as EBIT, climbed 43 percent to 144 million reais.

Heavy cost-cutting and fewer flights helped Gol boost occupancy and pricing from a year ago, helping an operational turnaround that has boosted Gol shares 33 percent this year.

Revenues in the first quarter reached 2.49 billion reais, a 19.7 percent increase compared with a year earlier and slightly better than the average of 2.47 billion reais expected by five analysts polled by Reuters.

Still, the Brazilian real weakened more than 10 percent in the 12 months through March, driving up the cost of fuel and other dollar-denominated costs for the company.

Gol also recognized a charge of 75.9 million reais in its first-quarter results because of costs associated with a drop in the Venezuelan currency from the end of 2013.

The airline said last month that the charge would affect financial but not operational results, adding that it held 350.3 million reais in cash in Venezuela at the end of March, which it plans to remit to Brazil despite uncertainty about when it will be able to.

($1 = 2.20 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Brad Haynes and Alberto Alerigi; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)