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Ryanair Profit Rises, Oil to Hit '09

Ryanair posted a 20 percent rise in full-year net profit on Tuesday but warned that if oil prices stay at around $130 a barrel it would only expect to break even in the year to the end of March 2009.

Net profit excluding before one-off items rose to 480.9 million euros ($748 million) in the 12 months to the end of March versus 401.4 million euros a year earlier and the 474.7 million average of 18 analysts' forecasts in Reuters Estimates.

Ryanair said it would absorb higher oil costs even if it means profits fall in the short term and that it was better placed than all other European airlines to cope with an industry downturn.

"Based on forward bookings, we now believe it likely that average fares for the coming year will rise by approximately 5 percent and if oil prices remain at $130 per barrel, then we expect to accordingly breakeven for fiscal '09," Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said in a statement.