The shares bounced back from a tough month for airline companies which saw stock across the sector wobble on the back of Monarch’s bankruptcy and RyanAir’s pilot shortage.
EasyJet’s revenue hit £5.05bn in 2017, but total profit after tax ended 30% lower than the previous year, down to £305m from 2016’s £437m after being hit by sterling’s weakness.
A proposed dividend of 40.9p is due to be paid in March 2018, in line with the group’s 50% pay-out ratio, it confirmed.
Chief executive: "EasyJet delivered a robust performance during a difficult year for the aviation industry..."
Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said the results offered “pleasant reading” for investors.
“Overall these are good results which the market seems to be fairly happy with as the shares have opened higher by around 5% in early trading,” he said.
“However, given the increased macro-economic environment where airlines have to fight against falling real incomes and the issues faced from Brexit, we continue to recommend EasyJet as a ‘hold’ for investors seeking a balanced return.”
EasyJet said it expected to increase capacity by 6% in 2018 on top of any growth as a result of its recently-announced acquisition of Air Berlin, which makes it the leading airline for the German capital.
The takeover will see EasyJet enter leases for up to 25 A320 aircraft and take on 1,000 former Air Berlin staff.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall, soon to step down from the post, said: “EasyJet delivered a robust performance during a difficult year for the aviation industry.”
She added that EasyJet had managed to weather a difficult environment for the aviation industry.
“Our planned approach of achieving number one or two positions at Europe’s leading airports, friendly and efficient customer service and a continuous focus on sustainable cost control has put EasyJet at a strategic advantage during a period when there have been bankruptcies and some airlines have struggled operationally,” she said.
“EasyJet’s model is resilient and sustainable and we now have a huge amount of positive momentum which will enable the airline to continue to grow profitably.”