Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Rand Gain Is South African Airways' Loss. A Billion to Be Exact

  • Revenue in 12 months through March 6% below projections
  • The currency has gained about 15% since the middle of November

The currency’s advance in the past six months cost South Africa’s struggling state-owned airline almost 1 billion rand ($80 million) in its past fiscal year.

Revenue in the 12 months through March was 6 percent below projections at 29.4 billion rand, with 996 million rand of that due to currency-translation losses, South African Airways said in a written copy of a presentation to lawmakers distributed on Wednesday. The currency effect was particularly bad in the quarter through March, accounting for a loss of 508 million rand in foregone revenue, it said.

The rand has gained about 15 percent since mid-November to trade at 12.5056 per dollar in Johannesburg Thursday. In its budget process, South African Airways assumed a rand level of 13 per dollar, it said. The currency actually averaged 12.92 over the full fiscal year, and 11.84 in the final quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read more about SAA’s financial woes here

The airline reported a net loss of 5.7 billion rand in the year through March, more than double what it had budgeted, after carrying fewer passengers. Fourth-quarter revenue fell 12 percent short of SAA’s expectations.

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