UAL Corp. and Northwest Airlines both posted higher profits in the first quarter Tuesday as stronger passenger revenue helped offset rising fuel prices.
UAL, the parent of United Airlines, said profit nearly tripled in the quarter because of higher fares and fuller planes. Northwest said its profit rose 21% as domestic travel strengthened.
Both companies beat Wall Street expectations. UAL stock jumped $4.125 to close at $78.875 on the New York Stock Exchange. Northwest shares rose 87.5 cents to close at $39.125 on Nasdaq.
Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based UAL reported net income on a fully distributed basis of $215 million, or $1.61 a share, from $76 million, or 50 cents a share, in the comparable period a year earlier.
The earnings are reported on a fully distributed basis reflecting the airline's majority employee ownership. Such a system assumes all shares owed to employees have been distributed to them.
The earnings exceeded Wall Street expectations of $1.40 a share.
Separately, UAL reported that talks were positive with its flight attendants union and predicted an agreement could come soon.
Northwest earned $64.6 million, or 58 cents a share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with $53.4 million, or 41 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Analysts had expected 47 cents per share.
Phoenix-based America West, meanwhile, said first-quarter profit rose to $13.9 million, or 32 cents a share, from $13.7 million, or 28 cents, a year earlier. The results beat Wall Street's expectations.
At a Glance:
Texaco Inc.'s profit shot up 154% in the first quarter, almost half of that representing a $488-million gain from Monday's Supreme Court victory in a tax dispute. Rising oil prices also lifted results at Texaco to $980 million, or $3.72 a share, from $386 million, or $1.42 a share, in the same 1996 period. Results were also higher for Shell Oil Co., which said profit rose 7% to $517 million.
The two companies previously disclosed they are in the process of combining major portions of their U.S. gasoline sales and oil refining operations.
RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. said first-quarter earnings rose 7.6%, as problems selling cigarettes in the former Soviet Union reduced its profit. The cigarette maker said net income rose to $213 million, or 62 cents a share, from $198 million, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier. The results matched estimates.
Polygram, the world's largest recording company, said 1997 first-quarter net profit fell 1.6% as a weak film business outweighed improved music sales. Net profit fell to $63.9 million, at the low end of analysts' expectations, from $65 million a year ago.
3M Co. posted a 13% rise in first-quarter profit to $410 million, or 99 cents per share, up from $362 million, or 87 cents per share, a year ago.
Xerox Corp. said first-quarter earnings rose 14% to $270 million, or 78 cents a share, up from $237 million, or 68 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
Monsanto Co. said its first-quarter earnings rose 28% to $343 million, or 56 cents a share, from $268 million, or 43 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
Pacific Enterprises reported first-quarter net income of $50 million, or 60 cents per share, compared with $51 million, or 57 cents, in the year-ago quarter.
Avery Dennison Corp. reported first-quarter net income of $48.2 million, or 45 cents per share, compared with $40 million, or 37 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.
Enova Corp. reported first-quarter net income of $48.9 million, or 42 cents a share, compared with $66 million, or 57 cents a share, a year ago.
Duke Power Co. said its first-quarter profit fell 8.3% to $175.4 million, or 82 cents a share, compared with $191.3 million, or 88 cents, in the year-earlier period.
Zitel Corp. said it posted a fiscal second-quarter loss of $1.9 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with a profit of $984,000, or 6 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.
Zenith Electronics Corp. said it reduced its first-quarter loss to $25.2 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with a loss of $35.3 million, or 56 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.