Fiji Airways has officially paid out its first dividend in seven years.
The airline’s chairman Nalin Patel handed over a cheque for FJD$2.5 million (A$1.6 million) to Fiji Attorney-General and Minister for Aviation the Hon Aiyaz Saved-Khaiyum on Thursday.
In addition to the Fijian government’s 51 per cent majority ownership, Qantas holds 46 per cent of the airline and Air New Zealand has about two per cent. The governments of Kiribati, Tonga, Samoa and Nauru also each have a small stake in Fiji Airways.
Qantas, which codeshares on Fiji Airways’ flights from Australia to Fiji, will receive a FJD$2.3 million (A$1.5 million) dividend payment.
Fiji Airways acting chief executive David Bowden said the return of a dividend to shareholders highlighted the success of the airline’s five-year plan, which was established in December 2013.
“Our financial performance provides us with the foundation to continue to build the business over the remainder of the five year plan, but there’s no room for complacency,” Bowden said in a statement.
“We must continue to make long-term financial decisions that are sustainable and in the best interests of the airline. On this basis, we look forward to sharing more of our success with our staff and shareholders at the conclusion of the current 2015 financial year.”
Fiji Airways announced a dividend of 10 Fijian cents a share in February – after posting a FJD$55.6 million net profit after tax for calendar 2014 – representing a total dividend payout of about FJD$5 million. The company has also paid bonuses to staff and management.