AeroCentury Corp. (“AeroCentury” or the “Company”) (NYSE American: ACY), an independent aircraft leasing company, today reported a first quarter 2020 net loss of $10.2 million, or ($6.58) per share, compared to a net loss of $1.3 million, or ($0.85) per share, for the first quarter of 2019.
Results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 included impairment losses totaling $6.7 million, arising from revised estimated sales proceeds for three regional jet aircraft and an older turboprop aircraft that is being sold in parts. Results also included a $1.2 million bad debt allowance related to two of the Company’s aircraft that are subject to finance leases and a $1.9 million non-cash charge related to the Company’s interest rate swaps, which is included in interest expense.
The results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 included $1.4 million of impairment provisions related to the write-down of two older off-lease turboprop aircraft and a spare engine to their estimated sales values, and a non-cash charge of $0.4 million related to the Company’s interest rate swaps, which was included in interest expense.
During the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the Company’s financial circumstances, mainly due to the impact on the Company’s primary customers, regional airlines. The Company’s customers have experienced a steep decline in revenue, and some requested lease payment concessions and/or deferrals from the Company.
On May 1, 2020, the Company and its credit facility lenders entered into a Fourth Amended and Restated Loan and Security Agreement, which converted the Company’s revolving credit facility with MUFG Union Bank as Agent, into a term loan with an initial principal balance of $83,689,900. The amendment provides for a forbearance of the existing defaults and events of default under the Company’s indebtedness to at least June 29, 2020, which is the milestone for the Company entry into a written agreement for a strategic transaction that would enable repayment of the MUFG indebtedness. The loan has a stated final maturity date of March 31, 2021, but also requires that the Company close on such strategic transaction by August 15, 2020. A more detailed description of the agreement, as well as the full text of the agreement, is available in the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 5, 2020.
“The COVID pandemic has had a severe negative impact on the airline industry and our lessees and their compliance with lease obligations,” explained Michael Magnusson, President of AeroCentury Corp. “We were, however, with the cooperation of our lenders, able to consummate in early May an amendment to our MUFG loan agreement,” Magnusson continued. “We believe the terms of the amendment make it possible for the Company to negotiate and execute a strategic transaction aimed at resolving our MUFG loan default, and puts the Company in a better position to weather the COVID impact as it plays out in the coming quarters. The Company faces many challenges outside of its control, but we remain steadfast in our aim to preserve shareholder value as much as possible as we work through these unprecedented times for the aircraft leasing industry.”
First Quarter 2020 Highlights and Comparative Data
- Net loss was $10.2 million compared to a loss of $7.0 million in the preceding quarter and a loss of $1.3 million a year ago.
- EBITDA(1) was ($4.7) million compared to ($2.9) million in the preceding quarter and $4.4 million a year ago.
- Average portfolio utilization was 83% during the first quarter of 2020 and fourth quarter of 2019, compared to 98% in the first quarter of 2019. The year-to-year decrease was due to aircraft that were on lease in the 2019 period, but off lease in the 2020 period.
- Total revenues decreased 2% to $4.8 million for the first quarter of 2020, compared to $4.9 million in the preceding quarter, and decreased 37% from $7.6 million in the first quarter a year ago.
- Operating lease revenue was approximately the same in the first quarter of 2020 and fourth quarter of 2019 and decreased 33% to $4.8 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $7.1 million in the first quarter of 2019 primarily due to reduced rent income resulting from the early termination of four aircraft leases with one of the Company’s customers in the third quarter of 2019 and the sale of an asset in the first quarter of 2019 that had been on lease until the time of sale.
- During the first quarter of 2020, the Company recorded losses totaling $41,800 on the sale of four aircraft, which was partially offset by $17,600 of gains on the sale of aircraft parts. During the fourth quarter of 2019, the Company recognized net gains of $5,000 related primarily to the sale of aircraft parts and an aircraft. During the first quarter of 2019, the Company recorded gains totaling approximately $0.2 million on the sale of an aircraft and aircraft parts.
- Total operating expenses increased 28% to $17.7 million from $13.8 million in the preceding quarter, and increased 91% from $9.2 million in the first quarter a year ago.
- During the first quarter of 2020, the Company recognized asset impairments of $6.7 million, based on estimated sales proceeds, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, when the Company recognized asset impairments of $6.1 million, based on third-party appraised values or expected sales proceeds. During the first quarter of 2019, the Company recognized $1.4 million of asset impairments on three assets held for sale, based on estimated sales proceeds.
- Depreciation expense decreased by 11% to $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $2.4 million in the preceding quarter and decreased by 32% from $3.2 million in the first quarter a year ago, due to sales of aircraft during 2019 and the reclassification of several aircraft from held for lease to held for sale.
- Interest expense increased by 69% to $6.0 million in the first quarter of 2020 from $3.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and increased 106% from $2.9 million in the first quarter of 2019, primarily as a result of a higher average interest rate and charges related to the Company’s interest rate swaps, the effects of which were partially offset by a lower average debt balance.
- As a result of payment delinquencies by two customers that leased two of the Company’s aircraft subject to finance leases, the Company recorded a bad debt expense of $1.2 million during the first quarter of 2020 compared to a $1.0 million reversal of bad debt allowance related to the same to customers in the fourth quarter of 2019 based on payments made early in the first quarter of 2020. The Company recorded no bad debt expense during the first quarter of 2019.
- Salaries, employee benefits and professional fees and other expenses were approximately the same in the first quarters of 2019 and 2020. Such expenses were $0.6 million higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019, primarily due to the writeoff of a portion of the Company’s unamortized legal costs and other legal expenses related to credit facility in the fourth quarter.
- Book value per share was $8.84 as of March 31, 2020, compared to $15.05 at December 31, 2019 and $25.59 a year ago.
Aircraft and Engine Portfolio
AeroCentury’s portfolio currently consists of thirteen aircraft, spread over six different aircraft types. Eleven of the aircraft, comprised of nine regional jets and two turboprops, are held for lease. Two additional turboprops are held under sales-type leases. The Company also has three turboprop aircraft, two of which are being sold in parts, and three regional jet aircraft that are held for sale. The current customer base comprises eight customers operating in six countries.