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Delta Air Shrinks Its Deficit

From Associated Press

Delta Air Lines Inc. reported a narrower fourth-quarter loss Tuesday on a solid increase in revenue, but its results pushed its red ink to more than $12 billion since January 2001.

The company, which is operating under bankruptcy protection, said it lost $1.24 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $2.21 billion in the same period a year earlier. Revenue in the quarter rose 6.2% to $3.93 billion.

The airline didn’t provide per-share data in its balance sheet.

Excluding one-time reorganization and other special items, Atlanta-based Delta said it lost $782 million in the October to December quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting a loss of $3.32 a share in the fourth quarter.

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Delta has now lost $12.3 billion since January 2001.

“Losses of the magnitude that Delta recorded in 2005 are not sustainable,” said Edward H. Bastian, Delta’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “These losses emphasize the need for the urgency with which we have to pursue route network and revenue improvements and the use of the bankruptcy process to reduce the cost and complexity of our business.”

For all of 2005, Delta said it lost $3.84 billion, compared with a loss of $5.22 billion in 2004.

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* Qwest Communications International Inc. posted a wider fourth-quarter net loss on costs to reduce debt. More people signed up for Internet and wireless service than analysts’ expected. The loss was $528 million, or 28 cents a share. Before the debt repayments and other expenses, Qwest broke even, beating analysts’ estimates for a loss. Sales advanced 1.3% to $3.48 billion, the Denver-based company said.

* RealNetworks Inc., owner of the Rhapsody online music service, posted a fourth-quarter profit after settling an antitrust dispute with Microsoft Corp. Net income was $295.6 million, or $1.61 a share, compared with a loss of $972,000, or 1 cent, a year earlier, the Seattle-based company said. Sales rose 15% to $83.6 million.

* Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said fourth-quarter profit jumped 58%, helped by sales of jeans and polo shirts. Net income climbed to $164.6 million, or $1.80 a share, from $104.3 million, or $1.15, a year earlier, the New Albany, Ohio-based company said. Revenue rose 40% to $961.4 million.


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