WestJet reports record second quarter net earnings

Airline achieves 41st consecutive profitable quarter, record return on invested capital and record quarterly earnings per share of $0.49, up 23 per cent for the second quarter

CALGARY, July 28, 2015 /CNW/ - WestJet (TSX: WJA) today announced its second quarter results for 2015, with net earnings of $61.6 million, or $0.49 per fully diluted share, as compared with the net earnings of $51.8 million, or $0.40 per fully diluted share reported in the second quarter of 2014. WestJet achieved an on-time performance rate of 91.3 per cent in the second quarter, a year-over-year improvement of 6.8 percentage points, placing WestJet as the top performing North American airline during the quarter. Based on the trailing twelve months, the airline achieved a return on invested capital of 16.0 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points from the 15.8 per cent reported in the previous quarter.

"I would like to congratulate our more than 10,000 WestJetters on these exceptional second quarter results which marked our 5th quarter of consecutive record adjusted net earnings," said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. "The second quarter is historically our most challenging quarter as capacity is transitioned from southern to domestic markets, so it is particularly rewarding to turn in a double digit margin this quarter. With another quarter of record earnings, and after having exceeded our ROIC target for 12 consecutive quarters, we are pleased to announce that we are increasing our target to 13 to 16 per cent, while continuing our commitment to our brand of friendly, caring service and affordable fares."

Operating highlights (stated in Canadian dollars)

  Q2 2015 Q2 2014 Change Year-to-date 2015 Year-to-date 2014 Change
Net earnings (millions) $61.6 $51.8 18.9% $202.3 $141.1 43.4%
Diluted earnings per share $0.49 $0.40 22.5% $1.58 $1.09 45.0%
Total revenue (millions) $942.0 $930.3 1.3% $2,025.5 $1,972.4 2.7%
Operating margin 10.7% 8.4% 2.3 pts 14.7% 10.6% 4.1 pts
ASMs (available seat miles) (billions) 6.655 6.193 7.5% 13.473 12.707 6.0%
RPMs (revenue passenger miles) (billions) 5.199 4.930 5.5% 10.765 10.347 4.0%
Load factor 78.1% 79.6% (1.5 pts) 79.9% 81.4% (1.5 pts)
Segment guests 4,956,488 4,772,324 3.9% 9,871,067 9,579,009 3.0%
Yield (revenue per revenue passenger mile) (cents) 18.12 18.87 (4.0%) 18.82 19.06 (1.3%)
RASM (revenue per available seat mile) (cents) 14.16 15.02 (5.7%) 15.03 15.52 (3.2%)
CASM (cost per available seat mile) (cents) 12.65 13.76 (8.1%) 12.83 13.87 (7.5%)
CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share (cents)* 9.28 9.23 0.5% 9.23 9.26 (0.3%)

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

Normal course issuer bid
Today, WestJet also announced that the Toronto Stock Exchange has approved WestJet's amendment to its existing normal course issuer bid to increase the maximum number of shares the Company is authorized to purchase from 2.0 million shares to 4.0 million shares during the period of May 13, 2015 to May 12, 2016.

Dividend declaration
On July 27, 2015, WestJet's Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.14 per common voting share and variable voting share for the third quarter of 2015, to be paid on September 30, 2015, to shareholders of record on September 16, 2015. 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.

Caution regarding forward-looking information
Certain information set forth in this news release, including, without limitation, information regarding our return on invested capital target and our intention to amend our existing normal course issuer bid is forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities law. By its nature, forward-looking information is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond WestJet's control. The forward-looking information contained in this news release is based on WestJet's current forecasts and strategy, the expected demand environment, the utilization of our fleet, the forward-curve for jet fuel price, the expected exchange rate of the Canadian dollar to the U.S. dollar, agreements and bookings, but may vary due to factors including, but not limited to, changes in guest demand, changes in fuel prices, delays in aircraft delivery, general economic conditions, competitive environment, ability to effectively implement and maintain critical systems and other factors and risks described in WestJet's public reports and filings which are available under WestJet's profile at sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking information as actual results may vary materially from the forward-looking information. WestJet does not undertake to update, correct or revise any forward-looking information as a result of any new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable law.

Non-GAAP measures
This news release contains disclosure respecting non-GAAP performance measures including, without limitation, CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share and return on invested capital. These measures are included to enhance the overall understanding of WestJet's current financial performance and to provide an alternative method for assessing WestJet's operating results in a manner that is focused on the performance of WestJet's ongoing operations, and to provide a more consistent basis for comparison between reporting periods. These measures are not calculated in accordance with, or an alternative to, GAAP and do not have standardized meanings. Therefore, they may not be comparable to similar measures provided by other entities. Readers are urged to review the section entitled "Reconciliation of non-GAAP and additional GAAP measures" in WestJet's management's discussion and analysis of financial results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2015, which is available under WestJet's profile on SEDAR at sedar.com, for a further discussion of such non-GAAP measures and a reconciliation of such measures to GAAP. The financial information accompanying this news release was prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards unless otherwise noted.

Management's discussion and analysis of financial results and condensed consolidated financial statements and notes for the three and six months ended June 30, 2015, are available through the Internet in the Media and Investor Relations section of www.westjet.com or under WestJet's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com.

Analyst conference call
WestJet will hold its quarterly analysts' conference call today, July 28, 2015, at 9 a.m. MDT (11 a.m. EDT). President and CEO Gregg Saretsky and Interim CFO Candice Li will discuss WestJet's second quarter results and answer questions from financial analysts and members of the media. The conference call will be available in Toronto by calling 416-915-3239, in Vancouver by calling 604-638-5340 and across Canada and the United States through the toll-free telephone number 1-800-319-4610. The call can also be heard live through an Internet webcast accessible via the Media and Investor Relations section of www.westjet.com.

About WestJet
We are proud to be Canada's most-preferred airline, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country's top employers. We offer scheduled service to more than 90 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 120 destinations in more than 20 countries. Leveraging WestJet's extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacation packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods  ̶  even on seat sales. For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.

Recent recognition includes:
2015 Best Employers in Canada (Aon Hewitt)
2014 Interbrand Canada's Best Canadian Brands (Rank #20)
2014 Brands of the Year (Strategy magazine)
2014 Canada's Most Preferred Airline (Ipsos)
2014 Value Airline of the Year (Air Transport World magazine)
2014/2013/2012 Canada's Most Attractive Employer (Randstad)
2014/2013 WestJet RBC MasterCard ranked #1 in Canada (Money Sense magazine and RewardsCanada.ca)
2014/2013/2012/2011 Highest equity score: airline, vacation package supplier brands (Harris/Decima EquiTrend Study)

Connect with WestJet on Facebook at facebook.com/westjet
Follow WestJet on Twitter at twitter.com/westjet
Subscribe to WestJet on YouTube at youtube.com/westjet
Read the WestJet blog at blog.westjet.com

Condensed Consolidated Statement of Earnings
(Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)

 
    Three months ended Six months ended
 
June 30
June 30
    2015 2014 2015 2014
           
Revenue:        
  Guest 828,909 847,454 1,785,855 1,784,283
  Other 113,089 82,886 239,640 188,147
  941,998 930,340 2,025,495 1,972,430
Operating expenses:        
  Aircraft fuel 214,948 274,861 425,393 559,697
  Airport operations 132,718 121,436 270,334 248,797
  Flight operations and navigational charges 120,517 110,585 245,739 226,730
  Sales and distribution 88,685 86,524 186,954 187,834
  Depreciation and amortization 62,766 54,402 119,945 115,424
  Marketing, general and administration 58,420 61,162 116,503 113,383
  Maintenance 55,531 50,755 109,252 103,550
  Inflight 54,685 42,108 103,069 86,810
  Aircraft leasing 43,981 44,714 91,636 93,822
  Employee profit share 9,359 5,351 59,122 26,349
  841,610 851,898 1,727,947 1,762,396
Earnings from operations 100,388 78,442 297,548 210,034
         
Non-operating income (expense):        
  Finance income 4,251 3,772 8,470 8,129
  Finance cost (13,477) (11,390) (27,398) (23,058)
  Gain (loss) on foreign exchange 940 517 313 (970)
  Loss on disposal of property and equipment (3,216) (56) 2,402 (45)
  (11,502) (7,157) (16,213) (15,944)
Earnings before income tax 88,886 71,285 281,335 194,090
         
Income tax expense (recovery):        
  Current 26,845 22,775 66,421 67,469
  Deferred 487 (3,252) 12,623 (14,432)
  27,332 19,523 79,044 53,037
Net earnings 61,554 51,762 202,291 141,053
         
Earnings per share:        
  Basic 0.49 0.41 1.60 1.10
  Diluted 0.49 0.40 1.58 1.09

Condensed Consolidated Statement of Financial Position
(Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars)
(Unaudited)

 
  June 30 December 31
  2015 2014
Assets    
Current assets:    
  Cash and cash equivalents 1,329,552 1,358,071
  Restricted cash 42,617 58,149
  Accounts receivable 65,294 54,950
  Prepaid expenses, deposits and other 94,022 144,192
  Inventory 33,652 36,658
  Assets held for sale - 78,306
  1,565,137 1,730,326
Non-current assets:    
  Property and equipment 3,141,807 2,793,194
  Intangible assets 64,105 60,623
  Other assets 88,492 62,290
Total assets 4,859,541 4,646,433
     
Liabilities and shareholders' equity    
Current liabilities:    
  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 428,831 415,562
  Advance ticket sales 595,939 575,781
  Deferred Rewards program 108,338 86,870
  Non-refundable guest credits 38,277 45,434
  Current portion of maintenance provisions 64,105 54,811
  Current portion of long-term debt 158,834 159,843
  1,394,324 1,338,301
Non-current liabilities:    
  Maintenance provisions 207,913 191,768
  Long-term debt 1,064,314 1,028,820
  Other liabilities 15,519 13,150
  Deferred income tax 309,200 296,892
Total liabilities 2,991,270 2,868,931
     
Shareholders' equity:    
  Share capital 592,499 603,287
  Equity reserves 75,574 75,094
  Hedge reserves (3,303) (3,179)
  Retained earnings 1,203,501 1,102,300
Total shareholders' equity 1,868,271 1,777,502
     
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity 4,859,541 4,646,433

Condensed Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
(Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars)
(Unaudited)

         
  Three months ended Six months ended
  June 30 June 30
  2015 2014 2015 2014
         
Operating activities:        
Net earnings 61,554 51,762 202,291 141,053
Items not involving cash:        
  Depreciation and amortization 62,766 54,402 119,945 115,424
  Change in maintenance provisions 2,551 9,650 7,691 10,082
  Change in other liabilities 469 (152) 283 (227)
  Amortization of hedge settlements 350 350 700 700
  Loss on disposal of property and equipment 3,216 56 (2,402) 45
  Share-based payment expense 5,250 5,904 8,750 9,762
  Deferred income tax recovery 487 (3,252) 12,623 (14,432)
  Unrealized foreign exchange gain (4,417) (2,318) (11,769) (5,126)
Change in non-cash working capital (12,874) 12,261 50,945 (80,997)
Change in restricted cash 11,487 11,843 15,532 23,402
Change in other assets 3,313 (19,974) (5,892) (11,423)
Purchase of shares pursuant to compensation plans (5,109) (4,985) (13,071) (10,417)
  129,043 115,547 385,626 177,846
         
Investing activities:        
Aircraft additions (192,078) (201,114) (395,095) (338,077)
Aircraft disposals 35,217 - 82,651 58
Other property and equipment and intangible additions (9,864) (19,822) (26,833) (29,579)
  (166,725) (220,936) (339,277) (367,598)
         
Financing activities:        
Increase in long-term debt 51,546 148,756 117,870 181,186
Repayment of long-term debt (41,920) (48,127) (83,186) (95,801)
Shares repurchased (27,601) (4,851) (71,906) (29,575)
Dividends paid (17,535) (15,312) (35,207) (30,637)
Issuance of shares pursuant to compensation plans 36 - 36 40
Cash interest paid (8,490) (9,616) (23,829) (19,802)
Change in non-cash working capital 3,344 (9) (26) (427)
  (40,620) 70,841 (96,248) 4,984
         
Cash flow from operating, investing and financing activities (78,302) (34,548) (49,899) (184,768)
Effect of foreign exchange on cash and cash equivalents 2,515 (1,265) 21,380 5,434
Net change in cash and cash equivalents (75,787) (35,813) (28,519) (179,334)
         
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 1,405,339 1,112,484 1,358,071 1,256,005
         
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period 1,329,552 1,076,671 1,329,552 1,076,671
         
Supplemental disclosure of operating cash flows        
Cash interest received 4,511 4,127 9,153 8,619
Cash taxes paid, net (30,032) (40,412) (61,304) (170,074)

CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share
(Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars, except percentage, mile and per unit data)
(Unaudited)

WestJet excludes the effects of aircraft fuel expense and employee profit share expense to assess the operating performance of the business. Fuel expense is excluded from operating results due to the fact that fuel prices are impacted by a host of factors outside WestJet's control, such as significant weather events, geopolitical tensions, refinery capacity and global demand and supply. Excluding this expense allows WestJet to analyze its operating results on a comparable basis. Employee profit share expense is excluded from operating results due to its variable nature and excluding this expense allows greater comparability.

             
  Three months ended June 30 Six months ended June 30
($ in thousands) 2015 2014 Change 2015 2014 Change
Operating expenses 841,610 851,898 (10,288) 1,727,947 1,762,396 (34,449)
Aircraft fuel expense (214,948) (274,861) 59,913 (425,393) (559,697) 134,304
Employee profit share expense (9,359) (5,351) (4,008) (59,122) (26,349) (32,773)
Operating expenses, adjusted 617,303 571,686 45,617 1,243,432 1,176,350 67,082
ASMs 6,654,631,242 6,192,880,483 7.5% 13,473,244,403 12,707,465,553 6.0%
CASM, excluding above items (cents) 9.28 9.23 0.5% 9.23 9.26 (0.3%)

Return on invested capital
(Stated in thousands of Canadian dollars, except percentages)
(Unaudited)

ROIC is a measure commonly used to assess the efficiency with which a company allocates its capital to generate returns. Return is calculated based on our earnings before tax, excluding special items, finance costs and implied interest on our off-balance-sheet aircraft leases. Invested capital includes average long-term debt, average finance lease obligations, average shareholders' equity and off-balance-sheet aircraft operating leases.

 
  June 30 December 31   
  2015 2014 Change
Earnings before income taxes 477,552 390,307 87,245
  Special item(i) 45,459 45,459 -
Adjusted earnings before income taxes 523,011 435,766 87,245
Add:      
  Finance costs 56,178 51,838 4,340
  Implicit interest in operating leases(ii) 94,639 95,786 (1,147)
  673,828 583,390 90,438
Invested capital:      
  Average long-term debt(iii) 1,093,497 1,033,529 59,968
  Average shareholders' equity 1,765,271 1,683,671 81,600
  Off-balance-sheet aircraft leases(iv) 1,351,980 1,368,375 (16,395)
  4,210,748 4,085,575 125,173
Return on invested capital 16.0% 14.3% 1.7 pts.

(i) Pre-tax non-cash loss recorded in 2014 associated with the sale of 10 aircraft to Southwest.
(ii) Interest implicit in operating leases is equal to 7.0 per cent of 7.5 times the trailing 12 months of aircraft lease expense. 7.0 per cent is a proxy and does not necessarily represent actual for any given period.
(iii) Average long-term debt includes the current portion and long-term portion
(iv) Off-balance-sheet aircraft leases are calculated by multiplying the trailing 12 months of aircraft leasing expense by 7.5. At June 30, 2015, the trailing 12 months of aircraft leasing costs totaled $180,264 (December 31, 2014 - $182,450).

 

 

SOURCE WestJet

For further information:

WestJet Media Relations
1-888-WJ-4-NEWS (1-888-954-6397)
Email: media@westjet.com

WestJet Investor Relations
1-877-493-7853
Email: investor_relations@westjet.com

Website: westjet.com


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890