Cathay claws back profits in 2023

HONG KONG, 19 March 2024: Cathay Pacific will make its first dividend payment to ordinary shareholders since 2019 following its strong financial performance for the fiscal year 2023, the airline’s chairman Peter Haley announced last week.

Haley said the airline was leaving Covid-19 behind and welcoming a new phase to move people forward in life.

“Our primary focus has been on rebuilding Cathay for the benefit of our customers, our people, our shareholders and the Hong Kong international aviation hub.”

The airline achieved its 2023 group target of operating 70% of its pre-pandemic passenger flights connecting Hong Kong with around 80 destinations worldwide.

A positive fiscal year 2023 means the airline group will pay an interim dividend of HKD0.43 per ordinary share to ordinary shareholders on 2 May 2024.

Financial results 2023

Following three years of pandemic-related restrictions, the Cathay Group, including airlines, subsidiaries and associates, reported an attributable profit of HKD9,789 million in 2023 (2022 restated: loss of HKD6,623 million). 

The group’s airlines and subsidiaries performed strongly across both halves, reporting an attributable profit of HK$9,225 million for the full year of 2023 (2022 restated: loss of HKD330 million). The results from associates, the majority of which are recognised three months in arrears, were a full-year loss of HKD1,562 million (2022:loss of HKD6,293 million).

In 2023, the airline paid the Hong Kong SAR Government approximately HKD1.97 billion in preference share dividends. It initiated the buyback of the preference shares by repurchasing 50% (HKD9.75 billion) in December. It announced plans to buy back the remaining 50% by the end of July 2024, subject to market conditions and business operations. 

The airline did not need to use the HKD7.8 billion bridge loan facility provided by the Hong Kong SAR Government as part of the recapitalisation financing in 2020, and the bridge loan facility expired on 8 June 2023.

Looking ahead

The airline chairman forecasts the group will achieve  80% of its pre-pandemic passenger flights within the second quarter of 2024. 
“As we continue to rebuild our flights, we expect the supply and demand imbalance experienced in 2023 to diminish, and the normalisation of yields has been seen recently and will continue throughout 2024.”

The priority in 2024 is to ensure high-quality and sustainable growth as the airline prepares for the full operation of the “Three-Runway System” at Hong Kong International Airport by the end of this year. 

“This milestone marks an exciting new chapter in the growth of our home hub and opens up a wide range of opportunities…“With Hong Kong and the rest of the Greater Bay Area as our home market, we are eager to play our role by continuing to invest in the growth and development of Cathay and the Hong Kong international aviation hub,” Healey concluded.


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