UPDATE 1-LATAM Airlines posts 2014 net loss of $109.8 million

martes 17 de marzo de 2015 19:06 GYT

(Adds fleet investment plans, operating margins, background)

SANTIAGO, March 17 (Reuters) - LATAM Airlines, Latin America's largest airline, reported on Tuesday a net loss of $109.8 million for the full-year 2014, mostly due to the depreciation of the Brazilian real and provisions related to fleet restructuring plans.

The carrier beat market expectations of a net loss of $164 million, according to a Reuters survey. In 2013, the company posted a net loss of $281.1 million.

Quarterly net income improved to $98.3 million in the October to December period, compared with a net loss of $46.1 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

The market is still waiting for LATAM Airlines to fulfill the promise of its 2012 merger, when it was formed in a tie-up between Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM to create a regional giant that could ward off potential competition from U.S. airlines.

LATAM Airlines said it expects to improve profitability and forecast operating margins for full-year 2015 to be in the range of 6 percent to 8 percent.

It added total passenger ASK growth, or available seat kilometer, to be between 2 percent and 4 percent in 2015.

The carrier expects to spend $5.2 billion between 2014 and 2016 to upgrade its fleet. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Chris Reese and Alan Crosby)