easyJet Lifts Dividend 105%

LONDON -- Shares in easyJet (LSE: EZJ.L  ) have lifted 5.75% this morning to 690 pence from last night's close of 652.50 pence following the release of the budget airline's final results, in which the headline figure stated a 27.9% increase in pre-tax profit.

Profit before tax was up to 317 million pounds compared with 2011's final figure of 248 million pounds. Elsewhere in the results, total revenue jumped up 11.6% to 3.85 billion pounds against 3.45 billion pounds at the same point last year.

However, private investors will be buoyed by the news from easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall, who said, "As evidence of its confidence in easyJet's current position and future prospects, the Board proposes to increase the dividend from 10.5 pence to 21.5 pence for the year ended September 2012."

That's a whopping 104.8% increase, while earnings per share grew 19% to 62.5 pence per share. The news means that easyJet shareholders will benefit to the tune of 85 million pounds in dividends.

The airline pointed toward a 5.5% increase in seats flown to 65.9 million, while load factors increased by 1.4 percentage points to 88.7% and passenger numbers rose 7.1% to 58.4 million.

McCall continued: "These results demonstrate that easyJet is a structural winner in the European short-haul market against both legacy and low cost competition. The strength of easyJet's business model and strategy coupled with the hard work and dedication of the easyJet team has delivered record profits as well as a significant increase in returns for shareholders during the year."

Shares in easyJet have now exceeded their previous five-year high of 666.41 pence, achieved in October 2007. They reached a low of 221.38 pence in November of the following year, at the height of the financial crisis. Shareholders who bought into easyJet at that time will be delighted, having taken the plunge when the company was unloved.

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Sam does not own shares in easyJet. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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