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Dubai to receive $1bn dividend after record Emirates profits

Emirates chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum said he was 'confident in our resilience and ability to respond quickly' to challenges such as the recent flooding in Dubai Reuters
Emirates chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum said he was 'confident in our resilience and ability to respond quickly' to challenges such as the recent flooding in Dubai and geopolitical tensions
  • Emirates to pay $1bn dividend to Dubai
  • Group profit up 63%
  • ‘Strong position’ for growth

Emirates Group will pay more than $1 billion in dividends to its owner, the Investment Corporation of Dubai sovereign wealth fund, after it announced record profits of just over $5 billion for the year.

The holding group includes Dubai-based flag carrier Emirates and aircraft and airport services company Dnata. It repaid $596 million from the $4.8 billion borrowed during the Covid-19 crisis.

Overall profits were up 63 percent from last year and group revenue hit $37 billion.

“The group’s excellent financial standing today places us in a strong position for future growth and success,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive at Emirates airline and Group.

Analysis from AGBI shows that, over the past 35 years, Emirates Group has paid 29 dividends worth $7.6 billion to Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund. Last year the group paid it a record $1.2 billion dividend. 

Emirates airline reported its best performance on record as profits hit $4.7 billion for the 12-month period, despite operating costs increasing by 8 percent. The airline’s fuel bill was up marginally by $1 million year on year to $9.3 billion.

The carrier was also hit with a $600 million loss as a result of currency fluctuations and devaluations in some of its major markets, notably the Pakistani rupee, Egyptian pound and Indian rupee.

“As an international carrier, Emirates is exposed to currency risk, particularly with the US dollar’s strength impacting revenue from other currencies,” Linus Bauer, managing director of the Dubai-based consultancy company BAA & Partners, said.

The results are for the period to March 31 2024 and do not take into account the mass disruption caused by the major flooding in Dubai in April.

More than 2,100 flights were cancelled at Dubai International Airport as a result of the weather. Sheikh Ahmed told reporters at last week’s Arabian Travel Market trade show that 26,000 Emirates passengers were provided with hotel accommodation as the company battled to resume normal service.

“It cost a lot at the end of the day,” he said.

Emirates carried 52 million passengers in the last year, up 19 percent on 2022-23, with seat capacity up by more than one-fifth, despite increasing geopolitical tensions caused by the conflict in Gaza and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

Average seat factor was 79.9 percent in the last 12 months, compared with 79.5 percent the year before.

Passenger yield dropped by 2 percent to 10 cents per revenue passenger kilometre, which was attributed to a change in cabin and route mix, fares and currency.

By the end of March, Emirates was serving 151 destinations across six continents, including 10 cities served by its freighter fleet only. The carrier had a total fleet of 260 aircraft and a further 310 are on order.

John Grant, partner at Midas Aviation and an AGBI columnist, said a positive outlook for Emirates could be disrupted by aircraft deliveries, which may "present the one cloud in an otherwise blue sky".

The company has an order for 205 of Boeing 777X widebody aircraft which were originally due to be delivered four years ago. Last week Sheikh Ahmed called on Boeing’s new management to address the issues as a matter of urgency.

Emirates SkyCargoEmirates
Emirates SkyCargo carried 2.2 million tonnes of goods around the world in 2023-24

Emirates SkyCargo reported revenue of $3.7 billion, contributing 11 percent to the airline’s total. The division carried 2.2 million tonnes of goods around the world in 2023-24, up 18 percent on the previous year.

Sister company Dnata reported a profit of $400 million, up from $90 million the previous year.

Over the last 12 months the group collectively invested $2.4 billion in new aircraft, facilities, equipment, companies and technologies.

The group’s total workforce grew by 10 percent to 112,406 employees, its largest size ever.

“As always, we will keep a close watch on costs and external factors such as oil prices, currency fluctuations, and volatile environments caused by socio-political changes,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

“Our business model has been tested before, and I am confident in our resilience and ability to respond quickly to opportunities and challenges,” 

Last week Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways announced profits of $143 million for the first quarter of the year.

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