Global aviation services group Air Partner (AIR) has boosted its operating profit from £2.66m to £3.54m in the half year to 31 July 2016.

The Gatwick-based firm offers a range of services, including private jet chartering, brokering and consultancy services. Its JetCard buys flying time around Europe on private jets.

Investors are pleased with a dividend hike of 10% to 8.06p, triggering a share price rise of 7.2% to 493.2p.

Gross profit is up 33.8% to £16.1m due to strong trading at Baines Simmons, a consultancy that specialises in aviation and compliance. Air Partner hopes to work with other companies to enhance its consultancy business.

Air Partner

Chief executive Mark Briffa and chief financial officer Neil Morris plan to optimise its customer portfolio through its Customer First programme, which helped to drive growth in broking and push operating profit up by nearly a quarter.

Air Partner has high operational gearing, but is cash generative with net cash of £5.2 million which may be used to fund future acquisitions and to leverage its infrastructure.

The group has not experienced any impact on trade as a result of the EU referendum and notes its only concern is if the UK enters a recession, as this may affect its high-flying client base.

Investment bank Liberum is optimistic about Air Partner and highlights its £3m underlying pre-tax profit is its strongest performance in eight years.

The broker says acquisitions from last year are continuing to improve the firm and kept its forecasts unchanged as the company enters a ‘seasonally weaker part of the year.’

Issue Date: 29 Sep 2016