Amadeus returns to profit as travel sector rebounds
By Jakub Olesiuk and Matteo Allievi
MADRID (Reuters) -Travel booking system operator Amadeus returned to profit in 2022, it said on Friday, after two years of losses when the industry was hammered by the pandemic.
The Spanish company said it expected the recovery to continue this year, forecasting revenue would rise by between 20% and 22.5% from the 4.9 billion euros ($5.18 billion) booked in 2022.
It reported an adjusted net profit of 742 million euros for 2022 compared with a net loss of 45 million euros in 2021.
The profit was still about 40% below pre-pandemic levels but beat the average analyst expectation of 705 million euros in a Refinitiv poll.
Shares in Amadeus were up 1.9% at 1355 GMT, outperforming a 0.1% rise in Spain's blue-chip index. Including Friday's gains, the stock has gained 16.95% year-to-date.
"Looking ahead, we are optimistic about the future of the travel industry, particularly regarding international traffic and the Asia region," Chief Executive Luis Maroto told analysts in a call.
"Into 2023, as volumes recover, our financial performance is expected to advance further," he said, pointing to an improvement in February but adding the firm remained cautious about how the situation could evolve in the future.
Amadeus said it expects 2023 free cash flow to jump to between 1 billion and 1.05 billion euros from 805 million euros last year.
Brokerage Jefferies said in a note to investors that the results will be met with "a sigh of relief".
Even though it mainly depends on the aviation industry, Amadeus recovered from the pandemic more quickly than airlines as a whole, many of which are only likely to return to profit this year, according to recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) data.
As announced in November, Amadeus will resume paying a dividend this year after it cancelled the payout in 2021 because of the pandemic. The dividend will be 0.74 euros per share, much lower than before the pandemic hit.
($1 = 0.9451 euros)
(Reporting by Jakub Olesiuk and Matteo Allievi, editing by David Latona and Susan Fenton)