- Increased Volumes and Revenue Reflect Customer Demand, Fleet Growth
- Reported Results Impacted by Warrant Accounting
- Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA Rose Sharply
- 2019 Adjusted Earnings Expected to Grow by Mid- to Upper-Single-Digit Percentage
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAWW) today announced continued volume, revenue and earnings growth, excluding the impact of warrant accounting, for the first quarter of 2019. The company also provided an updated full-year growth outlook that reflects the scheduled start-up in 2019 of new long-term 737-800 CMI business.
On a reported basis, results for the first quarter of 2019 were a net loss of $29.7 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, compared with reported income of $9.6 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2018. Reported results for the latest quarter included an unrealized loss on outstanding warrants of $46.6 million compared with an unrealized loss on outstanding warrants of $7.7 million in the year-ago period.
On an adjusted basis, net income in the first quarter of 2019 increased $3.5 million to $27.3 million, or $0.98 per diluted share, from adjusted income of $23.8 million, or $0.86 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA in the quarter rose $27.3 million to $121.1 million.
“Our first-quarter results exceeded our expectations,” said Atlas Air Worldwide President and Chief Executive Officer William J. Flynn. “We are benefitting from a full year of flying the 16 aircraft we added during 2018 for customers such as Amazon, Asiana Cargo, DHL Express, Inditex and SF Express, as well as the three aircraft for Nippon Cargo Airlines that we are adding this year.
Mr. Flynn also noted: “Our focus on express, e-commerce and fast-growing markets provides a solid foundation to deliver continued business and earnings growth this year.
“We were pleased to announce an expansion of our relationship with Amazon in March. We are scheduled to begin flying five 737-800 aircraft on a CMI basis for Amazon this year, including two starting this month, with up to 15 more by May 2021. This opportunity provides a path to continued expansion in a desirable aircraft type, and it will enhance scale in the 737 platform we operate through Southern Air.
“Reflecting the scale and scope of our domestic and worldwide operations, we continue to anticipate that our adjusted net income in 2019 will grow by a mid- to upper-single-digit percentage compared with the record adjusted net income of $204.3 million that we reported in 2018.*
“In providing our current outlook, it is important to note that we are now including start-up expenses that we expect to incur in 2019 in connection with our new 737 CMI service. These start-up expenses were not incorporated in the full-year outlook we announced in February 2019.”
Volumes in the first quarter of 2019 increased 16% to 77,061 block hours, with revenue growing 15% to $679.7 million and total direct contribution for reportable segments rising 21% to $104.7 million.
Increased ACMI segment revenue in the first quarter of 2019 primarily reflected an increase in flying partially offset by a slight decline in average rate per block hour. Block-hour growth during the period reflected increased 767 flying for Amazon, incremental 777 flying for DHL and the start-up of 747-400 flying for new customers. The change in average rate per block hour was primarily due to an increase in smaller-gauge 767 CMI flying.
ACMI segment contribution in the quarter was relatively unchanged compared with the year-ago period, primarily reflecting increases in 767 and 777 flying that were more than offset by higher crew costs, including enhanced wages and work rules resulting from our interim agreement with pilots at Southern Air; additional non-heavy maintenance and repairs; and increased amortization of deferred maintenance costs.
Higher Charter segment revenue during the period was primarily driven by increased flying and an increase in average rate per block hour. Higher block-hour volumes primarily reflected increases in military passenger and commercial cargo demand that were partially offset by a decrease in military cargo flying related to the unusually late cancellations of a number of flights by the military that did not permit adequate time to take advantage of alternative opportunities in the commercial market. Higher average rates during the quarter primarily reflected an increase in yields (excluding fuel) on passenger flying, mainly due to an increase in rates for the military and expanded flying for sports teams and other VIP charter customers.
Lower Charter segment contribution reflected the decrease in military cargo flying and additional non-heavy maintenance and repairs, partially offset by the increase in military passenger volumes and the expansion of our flying for sports teams and VIP-charter customers.
In Dry Leasing, higher segment revenue and contribution primarily reflected $22.3 million ($17.9 million after tax) from maintenance payments related to the scheduled return of a 777 freighter in March 2019 as well as the placement of incremental aircraft with customers.
Higher unallocated income and expenses, net, during the quarter primarily reflected fleet growth initiatives; increased amortization of a customer incentive asset; and a reduction in capitalized interest.
Reported earnings in the first quarter of 2019 also included an effective income tax expense rate of 19.7%, due mainly to the nondeductible change in the value of outstanding warrants. On an adjusted basis, our results reflected an effective income tax rate of 15.3%.
Cash and Short-Term Investments
At March 31, 2019, our cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and restricted cash totaled $175.9 million, compared with $248.4 million at December 31, 2018.
The change in position resulted from cash used for investing activities and financing activities, partially offset by cash provided by operating activities.
Net cash used for investing activities during the first quarter of 2019 primarily related to capital expenditures and payments for flight equipment and modifications, including 767-300 aircraft and related freighter conversion costs, spare engines and GEnx engine performance upgrade kits.
Net cash used for financing activities during the period primarily reflected payments on debt obligations, partially offset by proceeds from debt issuance.
Updating 2019 Outlook*
We continue to expect solid full-year business and earnings growth in 2019.
Global economic activity and airfreight demand, supported by ongoing faster growth in express and e-commerce, are expected to continue to expand at a modest pace, while airfreight tonnage continues to grow from record levels.
Looking ahead, we expect to generate higher volumes, revenue, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income in 2019. We see volumes rising to around 340,000 block hours (with over 75% in ACMI and the balance in Charter), revenue of approximately $3.0 billion, and adjusted EBITDA of about $600 million.
We continue to anticipate that our adjusted net income will grow by a mid- to upper-single-digit percentage compared with 2018. However, our outlook now includes expected start-up expenses in 2019 associated with our new 737 CMI service, which were not incorporated in the full-year outlook we announced in February 2019. We continue to expect our full-year 2019 adjusted income tax rate to be approximately 20%.
We expect to fly approximately 80,000 block hours (over 75% in ACMI) in the second quarter of 2019, with revenue of about $710 million and adjusted EBITDA of about $105 million. We also expect that our second-quarter adjusted net income will represent slightly more than a mid-single-digit percentage of our full-year adjusted net income.
Earnings in the second quarter will benefit from flying by the incremental aircraft added to our fleet during 2018. However, we expect this benefit to be offset during the quarter by the timing of heavy and non-heavy maintenance; higher crew costs related primarily to our interim agreement with pilots at Southern Air; start-up expenses associated with the new 737 CMI agreement we announced in March; and the receipt in the second quarter of 2018 of an $8.6 million refund of aircraft rent paid in previous years.
For the full year, aircraft maintenance expense is expected to total approximately $420 million, mainly reflecting an increase in daily line maintenance due to the anticipated growth in block hours. Depreciation and amortization is expected to total approximately $260 million. In addition, core capital expenditures, which exclude aircraft and engine purchases, are expected to total approximately $135 to $145 million, mainly for parts and components for our fleet.
We provide guidance on an adjusted basis because we are unable to predict, with reasonable certainty, the effects of outstanding warrants and other items that could be material to our reported results.*
Management will host a conference call to discuss Atlas Air Worldwide’s first-quarter 2019 financial and operating results at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
Interested parties may listen to the call live over the Internet at www.atlasairworldwide.com (click on “Investors,” click on “Presentations” and on the link to the first-quarter call) or at the following Web address:
For those unable to listen to the live call, a replay will be archived on the above websites following the call. A replay will also be available through May 9 by dialing (855) 859-2056 (U.S. Toll Free) or (404) 537-3406 (from outside the U.S.) and using Access Code 3469979#.