Market Report: African airline fastjet’s shares hit all-time low

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The big take-off in African commercial air travel seems more distant by the week for fastjet.

The AIM-listed airline, spun out of Lonrho’s legacy Fly540 operation, aimed to repeat what easyJet had done in Europe by conquering Africa, seen three years ago as the final frontier for passenger airlines.

But fastjet, backed by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is yet to take the continent by storm. 

The crucial load factor — basically how full its planes are — slipped 3% last month to just 60%, with the turbulent presidential elections in Tanzania blamed for the decline.

Last month fastjet launched the service in Zimbabwe and it is starting a new route next month between Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg and Zanzibar.

Chief executive Ed Winter said: “Whilst we remain mindful of the temporary reduction in demand in Tanzania, we expect that this will improve in the New Year when the political environment stabilises.”

The shares hit a new all-time low today, falling 5.85p or 10% to 52.15p.

Miners dominated the biggest fallers with the blue-chip constituents falling a combined 4.8%.

The sector’s freefall dragged the FTSE 100 down 40.68 points to 6182.84, with oil shares also feeling the pain after the price of Brent crude plunged to near seven-year lows yesterday. 

Supermarkets recovered after a beating yesterday on the back of downgrades by broker BNP Exane Paribas, with Sainsbury’s up 8.9p to 250.6p, Tesco 5.24p better off at 162.24p, and Morrisons 3.3p richer at 149p.

On the mid-cap index, Entertainment One, the film production company behind blockbuster The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 starring Jennifer Lawrence, slumped 21p or 11.9% to 155.6p as brokers went off the stock after Friday’s debt refinancing on less favourable terms. 

Peel Hunt, which cut its rating from hold to reduce as it slashed revenue and earnings forecasts, said: “It doesn’t seem long ago the company commentary on funding was that senior debt would be extinguished in the near future. Here we are with the creation of a seven-year £285 million senior note.”

Investors were largely uninspired by news that animal genetics specialist Genus, down 1.84p at 1463.16p, produced the first pigs resistant to the harmful Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus.

On AIM, surveillance firm Vislink fell 1.37p or 5% to 27.63p as it lowered its revenue guidance for the year.

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December 8, 2015 |
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