Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ: WLFC) today reported a record annual pre-tax profit of $56.3 million, from $36.0 million in 2017, including record total revenues of $348.3 million. The Company’s 2018 pretax results were driven by continued revenue growth in the core leasing business and an increase in spare parts and equipment sales. Aggregate lease rent and maintenance reserve revenues of $262.6 million were driven by high utilization of a lease portfolio that grew 24.6% to $1.673 billion at year-end.
“We are very pleased to have delivered strong performance across the Willis Lease Platform in 2018,” said Charles F. Willis, Chairman and CEO. “Our global client base is recognizing the value of our vertically integrated offering of core lease services, materials, fleet transition solutions, asset management and materials services.”
“The continued evolution of our Platform lets us offer the industry new options for financing, managing and transitioning into and out of equipment,” said Brian R. Hole, President. “This includes our ConstantAccess program, which allows customers seeking operational and cost efficiency to leverage our portfolio instead of buying too many new, dedicated spare engines. We are pleased to be able to support our customers with these unique products and services during a period of very high demand in the market.”
2018 Highlights (at or for the period ended December 31, 2018, as compared to December 31, 2017):
Total revenue increased by 26.7% to $348.3 million in 2018, compared to $274.8 million in 2017.
Lease rent revenue achieved an annual high of $175.6 million in 2018; 34.7% growth from $130.4 million in 2017.
Earnings before tax were $56.3 million in 2018, up 56.3% when compared to $36.0 million in 2017.
General and administrative expenses increased, primarily due to one-time costs associated with facility relocations and employee transitions, increased headcount to support our broadening Platform and increased compensation accruals due to operating performance.
Utilization at the end of 2018 was 89% and consistent with 2017 year-end levels.
Our equipment lease portfolio grew 24.6% to $1.673 billion, from $1.343 billion at December 31, 2017, net of asset sales and depreciation expense.
The book value of 308 lease assets we own directly or through our joint ventures was $2.0 billion at December 31, 2018. As of December 31, 2018, the Company managed 422 engines, aircraft and related equipment on behalf of third parties.
The Company maintained $463 million of undrawn revolver capacity at December 31, 2018.
A total of 471,595 shares of common stock were repurchased in 2018 under the Company’s repurchase plan for $16.2 million. On December 31, 2018, the Company’s Board of Directors approved the renewal of the stock repurchase plan, extending the plan through December 31, 2020 allowing for the repurchase of up to $60 million.
Diluted weighted average earnings per common share was $6.60 per share for the year 2018.
Book value per diluted weighted average common share outstanding increased to $47.43 at December 31, 2018, compared to $41.63 at December 31, 2017.
As of December 31, 2018, the Company had a total lease portfolio consisting of 244 engines and related equipment, 17 aircraft and 10 other leased parts and equipment with a net book value of $1.673 billion. As of December 31, 2017, the Company had a total lease portfolio consisting of 225 engines, 16 aircraft and 7 other leased parts and equipment, with a net book value of $1.343 billion.