WestJet reports third quarter net earnings of $65 million

Airline achieves 34th consecutive profitable quarter and flies over 300,000 additional guests year over year

CALGARY, Nov. 5, 2013 /CNW/ – WestJet (TSX: WJA) today announced its third quarter 2013 results, with net earnings of $65.1 million, or $0.50 per diluted share. This compares with the net earnings of $70.6 million, or $0.52 per diluted share reported in the third quarter of 2012. Based on the trailing twelve months, the airline achieved a return on invested capital of 13.8 per cent, compared with the 14.4 per cent reported in the previous quarter, and one of the best third quarters in WestJet history.

„We had a strong third quarter in which we flew a record number of guests, exceeded our 12 per cent ROIC target for the fifth consecutive quarter, and reached our initial business transformation initiative milestone one year early by implementing and identifying various opportunities which we believe will result in approximately $100 million in future cost savings in 2014,” said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. „With the market launch of our Plus product in August, we are now providing our business and leisure guests with even more flexibility, comfort and convenience, and my thanks go to WestJetters for their ongoing efforts to take care of our guests.”

Q3 2013 Q3 2012 Change Year-to-
date 2013
date 2012
Net earnings (millions) $65.1 $70.6 (7.8%) $200.9 $181.4 10.7%
Diluted earnings per share $0.50 $0.52 (3.8%) $1.51 $1.33 13.5%
Total revenues (millions) $924.8 $866.5 6.7% $2,735.8 $2,566.8 6.6%
Operating margin 10.7% 12.5% (1.8 pts) 10.9% 11.1% (0.2 pts)
ASMs (available seat miles) (billions) 6.109 5.498 11.1% 18.029 16.576 8.8%
RPMs (revenue passenger miles) (billions) 5.059 4.654 8.7% 14.823 13.770 7.6%
Load factor 82.8% 84.6% (1.8 pts) 82.2% 83.1% (0.9 pts)
Segment guests 4,940,943 4,611,315 7.1% 13,927,538 13,109,328 6.2%
Yield (revenue per revenue passenger mile) (cents) 18.28 18.62 (1.8%) 18.46 18.64 (1.0%)
RASM (revenue per available seat mile) (cents) 15.14 15.76 (3.9%) 15.17 15.48 (2.0%)
CASM (cost per available seat mile) (cents) 13.52 13.80 (2.0%) 13.52 13.77 (1.8%)
CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share (cents)* 8.96 9.10 (1.5%) 8.99 9.06 (0.8%)

*Refer to reconciliations in the accompanying tables for further information regarding calculations.

During the third quarter, WestJet continued the roll-out of WestJet Encore, beginning service to Brandon, Manitoba onSeptember 3 and announcing Terrace, B.C. as a new community that will welcome its first Encore flight on November 25, 2013. WestJet Encore also added new non-stop routes joining the dots in WestJet’s network, including flights between Winnipeg and Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Regina and between Vancouver and Kamloops, B.C. „We are very pleased with the overwhelming community support WestJet Encore has received, as we give even more Canadians access to lower fares, stimulate demand in smaller communities, and repeat WestJet’s success in the regional space,” said Gregg Saretsky.

In the third quarter, WestJet entered into a definitive purchase agreement for 65 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with deliveries scheduled from 2017 through 2027. This order will enable the airline to enhance its inflight guest experience, support its low-cost business model, and contribute to its profitable growth by utilizing a lower operating cost aircraft that is expected to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by 13 per cent, as compared with the most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft currently available.

With the impact on demand caused by the summer flooding in Calgary, Alberta and the surrounding communities behind the airline, WestJet expects continued strong traffic and revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2013. The airline anticipates its 2013 fourth quarter RASM to be roughly flat as compared to the same period in the prior year.

The airline expects jet fuel costs to range between 90 and 92 cents per litre for the fourth quarter of 2013, representing a down 1.0 to up 1.0 per cent year-over-year change. For the full year 2013, the airline now expects CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share, to be down approximately 0.5 per cent year-over-year.

Dividend declaration
On November 4, 2013, WestJet’s Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.10 per common voting share and variable voting share for the fourth quarter of 2013, to be paid on December 31, 2013, to shareholders of record onDecember 18, 2013. All dividends paid by WestJet are, pursuant to subsection 89(14) of the Income Tax Act, designated as eligible dividends, unless indicated otherwise. An eligible dividend paid to a Canadian resident is entitled to the enhanced dividend tax credit.

Source / Author: WestJet