Copa Holdings, S.A. (NYSE: CPA), today announced financial results for the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q17) and full year 2017. The terms "Copa Holdings" and "the Company" refer to the consolidated entity. The following financial information, unless otherwise indicated, is presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). See the accompanying reconciliation of non-IFRS financial information to IFRS financial information included in the financial tables section of this earnings release. Unless otherwise stated, all comparisons with prior periods refer to the fourth quarter of 2016 (4Q16).
The financial information included in this press release is preliminary as the Company has not yet issued its audited financial statements and may differ from those results. During the course of the preparation of the financial statements and related notes and our year-end audit, additional items that would require material adjustments to the preliminary financial information included in this press release may be identified.
OPERATING AND FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
Copa Holdings reported net income of US$100.8 million for 4Q17 or earnings per share (EPS) of US$2.38, as compared to net income of US$90.5 million or earnings per share of US$2.14 in 4Q16. Excluding special items, which for 4Q17 include a non-cash gain of US$0.5 million associated with the mark-to-market of fuel hedge contracts, the Company would have reported a net income of US$100.3 million, or adjusted EPS of US$2.36, compared to an adjusted net income of US$54.7 million or adjusted EPS of US$1.29 in 4Q16.
For full year 2017, net income reached US$370.0 million or EPS of US$8.72, compared to a net income of US$334.5 million or earnings per share of US$7.90 for full year 2016. Excluding special items, which for 2017 include a non-cash gain of US$2.8 million associated with the mark-to-market of fuel hedge contracts, Copa Holdings would have reported an adjusted net income of US$367.2 million or EPS of US$8.66, compared to an adjusted net income of US$201.4 million or adjusted EPS of US$4.75 for full year 2016.
Operating income for 4Q17 came in at US$120.4 million, representing a 70% increase over operating income of US$70.6 million in 4Q16, as a result of a 2.9% increase in unit revenue per available seat mile (RASM), and a 4.2% decrease in unit costs. Operating margin for 4Q17 came in at 17.8%, compared to an operating margin of 11.7% in 4Q16.
For full year 2017, the Company reported operating income of US$440.1 million, representing an increase of 59% over operating income of US$276.1 million for full year 2016. Operating margin for full year 2017 came in at 17.4%, compared to an operating margin of 12.4% in 2016.
Total revenues for 4Q17 increased 12.4% to US$675.6 million. Yield per passenger mile increased 1.2% to 12.9 cents and RASM came in at 11.1 cents, or 2.9% above 4Q16.
For 4Q17, consolidated passenger traffic grew 11.3% while consolidated capacity grew 9.2%. As a result, consolidated load factor for the quarter increased 1.6 percentage points to 83.2%. For full year 2017, consolidated load factor was also 83.2%, 2.8 percentage points higher than 2016 on 8.8% capacity growth.
Operating cost per available seat mile (CASM) decreased 4.2%, from 9.5 cents in 4Q16 to 9.1 cents in 4Q17. CASM excluding fuel costs decreased 6.7% from 6.9 cents in 4Q16 to 6.5 cents in 4Q17, mainly as a result of a non-cash adjustment in our aircraft useful life assumptions, which significantly increased the depreciation expense in 4Q16.
Cash, short-term and long-term investments ended 2017 slightly over US$1.0 billion, representing 40% of the last twelve months' revenues.
Copa Holdings ended the year with a consolidated fleet of 100 aircraft - 66 Boeing 737-800s, 14 Boeing 737-700s, and 20 Embraer-190s.
For 2017, Copa Airlines ended the year with a consolidated on-time performance of 86.7% and a flight-completion factor of 99.4%, maintaining its position among the best in the industry.
In January 2018, the company took delivery of one Boeing 737-800, increasing the consolidated fleet to 101 aircraft.
Also in January 2018, the company was recognized by FlightStats - for the fifth consecutive year - as the most on-time airline in Latin America, and by OAG as the 4th most on-time airline in the world.
On February 1, 2018, the company announced three new destinations starting in July: Salvador and Fortaleza, our 8th and 9th destinations in Brazil, and Bridgetown, Barbados, our 16th destination in the Caribbean.
On February 21, 2018, the Board of Directors of Copa Holdings approved a 2018 quarterly dividend payment of 87 cents per share. Dividends will be distributed during the months of March, June, September and December. The first quarterly dividend of 87 cents per share will be paid on March 15 to shareholders on record as of March 5, 2018.