JAL today announced the consolidated financial results for the full fiscal year of 2017 - the period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. Here is a summary of the message.
I would like to explain JAL Group financial results for fiscal 2017.
Operating revenue increased 94.2 billion yen, or up 7.3% year over year, to 1 trillion 383.2 billion yen.
Operating profit increased 4.2 billion yen, or up 2.5% year over year, to 174.5 billion yen. Operating profit margin was 12.6% and net profit was 135.4 billion yen, down 17.5% from the previous year, as we recorded temporary income tax deferred of approximately 30 billion yen last fiscal year.
Regarding fuel prices in the market, the price of Singapore kerosene was 67.8 US dollars per barrel, up 18.5% year over year, and the Dubai crude oil price was 54.9 US dollars, up 20.4% over the previous year. As for the dollar-yen exchange rate, the Japanese yen was valued at 111.2 yen against the US dollar, a 2.4% depreciation from the previous year.
Next, I will explain our international operations. International passenger revenue increased 47.7 billion yen, or up 11.5% year over year, to 462.9 billion yen. This can be attributed to robust high-yield demand for both inbound and outbound travel, higher fuel surcharge revenue and the effects of the exchange rate.
Passenger traffic rose 2.3% year over year due to new service launches, increases in flight frequency, product and service enhancements and assignment of aircraft types to meet travel demand. The load factor was 81.0%, renewing its record high.
Unit revenue rose 9.0% year over year as a result of enhanced route configuration and revenue management, despite the effects of higher fuel surcharges and the weaker yen.
Next, I will explain our domestic operations. Domestic passenger revenue increased 19.6 billion yen, or up 3.9% year over year, to 518.2 billion yen. This can be attributed to recovery from the effects of the Kumamoto Earthquakes in 2016, strong growth of individual passengers and increased brand preference by offering inflight Wi-Fi service for free ahead of other airlines.
Passenger traffic rose 4.5 % over the previous year due to an increase in individual passengers.
The load factor for revenue passengers was 71.8%, the first time it has reached the 70% level.
Unit revenue declined 0.5% from the previous year due to price competition on select routes and advance purchase fares, as well as an increase in passengers using relatively low-cost fares. On the other hand, we were able to stimulate new air travel demand by creating a sense of affordability.
Regarding our financial position, while total assets increased, the equity ratio also increase 1 percentage point to 57.2% from the previous fiscal year- end due to retained earnings.
Our earnings forecast for fiscal 2018 remains the same as the forecast on February 28; that is, operating revenue of 1 trillion 455 billion yen, operating profit of 167 billion yen and net profit of 110 billion yen. We will continue to do our utmost to maximize revenues and minimize expenses and achieve higher earnings again in fiscal 2018.
Now, I will explain dividends and our dividend forecast.
We expect to pay a dividend of 110 yen per share, the sum of 52.5 yen interim dividend and 57.5 yen year-end dividend. The dividend forecast for fiscal 2018 is 110 yen per share.
Regarding dividends, as we have moved to a stable growth stage, instead of automatically deciding dividends in conjunction with profit as we have done up till now, we will decide dividends taking into account dividend stability, based on our payout ratio of approximately 30% and DOE of at least 3%. Although we project lower earnings in fiscal 2018, our dividend forecast for fiscal 2018 remains the same as for fiscal 2017, 110 yen. This is because net profit for fiscal 2017 includes factors for temporary front-loaded cost increases aimed at growth. Further, our goal as of the end of February when we announced our earnings forecast was "higher earnings on higher revenues" and we will continue to head in this direction.