Feb 17 (Reuters) - Air Canada reported a bigger quarterly loss and said it expected its margins to halve in the current quarter from a year ago, as fuel costs inch up with the rise in oil prices.
The carrier's fuel cost per litre rose 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec.31.
However, adjusted cost per available seat mile (CASM), which excludes fuel costs and unusual items, fell by about 6 percent, helping the company post a better-than-expected adjusted profit.
Air Canada said it expected adjusted CASM to decrease by 3.25-4.75 percent in the first quarter.
The company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and aircraft rent (EBITDAR) margin is likely to be about 7 percent in the current quarter, compared with about 13.8 percent last year.
Net loss widened to C$179 million ($136.8 million), or 66 Canadian cents per share, in the latest quarter from C$116 million, or 41 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 14 Canadian cents per share, above the average analyst estimate of 7 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The Montreal-based airline's revenue rose 7.6 percent to C$3.43 billion, also beating analysts' average estimate of C$3.39 billion.
($1 = 1.3082 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Komal Khettry in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)