A better-than-expected 3Q10

Air Arabia reported better-than-expected 3Q10 results. Tight cost control plus a AED20m income from investment in associates boosted the bottom line during the quarter. 3Q10 revenue grew 4% YoY and 17% QoQ to AED568m, 6% above our estimate, as yields did not decline as much as feared. 3Q10 passenger traffic grew 9.5% YoY to 1.15m (3% below our estimate of 1.18m). 3Q10 load factor was 82%, slightly above our estimate of 81%. COGS remained flat QoQ but rose 9% YoY resulting in 3Q10 gross margin narrowing only 3.9pps YoY, and increasing 13.3pps QoQ to 21.2% (vs. 22% forecasted). 3Q10 net profit fell 5% YoY to AED136m, but showed a significant recovery on a QoQ basis from AED50m in 2Q10. We maintain our ACCUMULATE recommendation and target price at AED1/share.

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