Norwegian Air Declines as Yield Lags Distance Growth: Oslo Mover

Norwegian Air Shuttle AS, western Europe’s fourth-largest low-cost airline, dropped the most in more than a year in Oslo trading after the company’s growth in sales per seat last month missed estimates.

Shares in the Fornebu, Norway-based company fell as much as 8.6 percent, the most since Feb. 16, 2012, and were down 2.2 percent at 235.4 kroner as of 1:55 p.m. Almost 600,000 shares have been traded so far today, more than double the three-month average daily volume.

“Short term we could get a breather in the stock,” Preben Rasch-Olsen, an analyst at Carnegie Investment Bank AB, said in an e-mailed note to clients. Revenue per available seat kilometer increased 2 percent in February from a year earlier, missing the broker’s 4 percent estimate, he said.

“The share has been very strong in recent days and weeks and we heard rumours yesterday about 8 percent yield increase expectations” for February, said Rasch-Olsen, who has a buy recommendation on the stock. “We expect some profit taking on these numbers.”

Norwegian, which ordered 222 Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS airliners last year valued at 127 billion kroner ($22.3 billion), is expanding its operations to step up competition with state-backed SAS Group AB. The Norwegian company, which was founded in 1993, switched to a discount model in 2001, emulating Ryanair Holdings Plc and EasyJet Plc.

Norwegian, which will add flights to New York and Bangkok in May, yesterday said it signed an agreement with Lisbon-based lessor HiFly to rent two Airbus SAS A340-300s, along with crews, to operate on its long-haul routes if its order of Dreamliners from Boeing Co. is delayed.

Norwegian is western Europe’s fourth-largest low-cost airline, after Easyjet, Ryanair and Air Berlin Plc, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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