Chorus Aviation beat expectations even though the airline says its net profits dropped 65% in the second quarter on a continued decrease in revenues and a series of unusual items.The Halifax-based airline formerly known as Jazz said net income was $7.9-million, or 6¢ per share, which was a decline from $22.6-million or 18¢ per share a year earlier.Revenues fell to $410.3-million from $426.3-million a year ago, Chorus reported Tuesday after markets closed.Excluding one-time costs, adjusted profit was $21.4-million or 17¢ per share, compared to $27.2-million or 22¢ per share in the year-ago period.Chorus Aviation’s adjusted profits were expected to drop by more than 31% to 15¢ per share on $404.4-million, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.“We experienced positive operational and financial performance in the second quarter,” stated president and CEO Joseph Randell in a release.He said the profits were impacted by $13.5-million in unrealized foreign exchange loss on long-term debt and finance leases which had no impact on cash flows, and by $2.3-million in expenses related to an ongoing employee voluntary separation program that will reduce costs.Chorus and Air Canada have been in an arbitration process for many months over so-called benchmarking.Both sides agreed to compare, or benchmark, the growth of controllable costs at Chorus’ operating subsidiary, Jazz Aviation, to similar operators in the U.S. in past years.However, it was sent to private arbitration after they disagreed on the methodology to ensure controllable costs — including salaries and wages, maintenance and overhead.After concluding the final round of hearings, Chorus said it’s confident that its positions will prevail. It nonetheless cut its dividend in half to 7.5 cents per share in May citing increased financial risk of potential retroactive payments to Air Canada.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Chorus shares were unchanged at $2.24 in Tuesday trading. The value of the shares plummeted after the dividend cut and are valued at less than half the 52-week high of $4.71.
Addressing a conference on AIDS orphans in Africa, Special Envoy Stephen Lewis said the lack of treatment suitable for children was a long-time problem, but the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were now trying to find solutions.”The most important touch of solace on the horizon is that UNICEF and WHO have come together in an effort to address the most complex aspects of this predicament,” he said. “It’s estimated that if we started immediately, we could get certain paediatric formulations onto the market within 18 months.”Nonetheless, the 2.2 million children already living with AIDS were likely to lose the race against time, he said.The most effective way to stop the infection of children was to stop transmission from the pregnant mother to the developing child, but only 10 per cent of HIV-infected expectant mothers in Africa could access clinics providing prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), he said.Those clinics were distributing single-dose nevirapine, which if 80 per cent of infected African women got it, would reduce child infection by half, or 300,000 cases, Mr. Lewis said.”On the other hand, in the West, using full-anti-retroviral (ATV) intervention, what we call triple dose therapy, the numbers of infected children have been cut virtually to zero,” he said, asking, “How long will this double standard be tolerated? How long will the lives of African children be considered of lesser worth?”