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Jul 26, 2019

WestJet swings to profit in second quarter ahead of privatization


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CALGARY -- WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.TO) says it swung to a profit in the second quarter ahead of Onex Corp. taking the airline private in a $3.5-billion deal.

The Calgary-based company says it had net earnings of $44.3 million in the quarter ending June 30, compared with a loss of $15.8 million in the same quarter last year.

Diluted earnings per share worked out to 38 cents each for the quarter, compared with a loss of 14 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

The company saw total revenue climb to $1.21 billion from $1.09 billion last year as it flew 3.5 per cent more travellers in the quarter.

Earlier this week, WestJet shareholders approved Onex's bid to acquire and take private the company for $31 a share. The deal is still subject to some closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

The offer was a reduction from the preliminary price of $35.75 per share submitted in March due to uncertainties related to the grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets, according to the proxy circular provided to shareholders.

"We are very pleased with this significant return to second quarter profitability," said WestJet President & CEO Ed Sims.

The company's board has declared a cash dividend of 14 cents per share for the third quarter, to be paid out at the end of September.