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Atlas Air Worldwide says 1Q adjusted profit fell

PURCHASE, N.Y. (AP) -- Airplane leasing company and service provider Atlas Air Worldwide said Thursday that its adjusted first-quarter profit fell as business slowed in two of its segments, but it still made more money than analysts expected.

Net income rose because of a tax benefit. For the quarter that ended March 31, it was $20.1 million, or 76 cents per share. A year earlier it was $12.8 million, or 48 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $377.3 million.

Without the tax benefit, adjusted net income was $5.9 million, or 22 cents per share. That was well above the 13 cents per share forecast by analysts, according to FactSet, although revenue fell short of the $389.6 million they expected.

The company's biggest business by revenue is so-called wet leasing, in which it provides a plane, crew, maintenance and insurance to other companies who want to haul freight. Profits rose in that segment as Atlas added profitable new Boeing 747-8F freighters. But profits fell in two of its aircraft charter businesses, as well as its small aircraft-only leasing business.

Atlas's AMC Charter business saw a 41 percent drop in cargo flying hours and lower average revenue per hour. Its Commercial Charter business was slow because the business is seasonal and pay rates were soft because of global charter market conditions, Atlas said.

The company said its operational guidance for the year isn't changing, but it raised expected profit for the year to $4.80 per share, from $4.65, because of share buybacks. If it makes the same profit but that profit is spread over fewer shares, then earnings per share will rise. Atlas said it bought back 903,301 shares between mid-February and late April at an average cost of $40.40 per share.

Analysts expect a 2013 profit of $4.81 per share.

Shares of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. rose $2.27, or 6.1 percent, to $39.77 in afternoon trading.