PURCHASE, N.Y, Thursday, November 1, 2018 — Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAWW) today announced strong third-quarter earnings growth and raised its outlook for full-year 2018, driven by ongoing market strength, customer demand and business development.
“We continue to leverage the scale and scope of our enterprise and our leadership in global aviation outsourcing,” said President and Chief Executive Officer William J. Flynn.
“We are in a good place to deliver quality results today and in the future. We have the aircraft and provide the services that customers want. We are focused on the right markets. And we are executing on strategic initiatives to grow and diversify our fleet, expand our customer base and enhance our business mix.
“Secular trends are driving opportunities and growth in airfreight. And our focus is on express, e-commerce and fast-growing regions where efficient, time-definite, freighter networks are essential to meet the growing demands of businesses and consumers.
“Looking to the full year, we continue to expect our revenue to exceed $2.6 billion. We project adjusted EBITDA to increase to more than $525 million. And we anticipate our full-year adjusted net income to grow near or above 50% compared with 2017.”
Mr. Flynn continued: “Our full-year outlook reflects our expectations for another great fourth quarter. We see solid peak-season yields and volumes, including the additional seasonal flying we do for express and e-commerce operators. And we anticipate record fourth-quarter block hours, revenue, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income.
“The fourth quarter will also benefit from our second 747-400 freighter for Asiana Cargo, which began flying in September, and our first 747-400 freighter for SF Express, China’s leading express operator, which began service in October. In addition, we expect to add two more 767-300 converted freighters for Amazon before Thanksgiving, which will bring us to 20 aircraft in line with the schedule we announced in May 2016.”
He concluded: “While tariffs and trade are important topics, neither we nor our customers, with whom we are in close contact, have seen a material impact on airfreight demand. Airfreight tonnage continues to grow from record levels, and airfreight demand is growing in line with its longer-term rate of about 4% per year, with express and e-commerce growing much more than that.”
Volumes in the third quarter of 2018 increased 14% to a record 73,672 block hours, with revenue growing 23% to $656.6 million.
Reported income from continuing operations, net of taxes, totaled $71.1 million, or $0.84 per diluted share, during the period compared with a reported loss of $24.2 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2017. Reported results in the third quarter of 2018 included an unrealized gain on outstanding warrants of $46.1 million compared with an unrealized loss on outstanding warrants of $44.8 million in the year-ago period.
On an adjusted basis, income from continuing operations, net of taxes, in the third quarter of 2018 increased $14.1 million to $43.8 million, or $1.54 per diluted share, from $29.7 million, or $1.08 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA increased $25.3 million over the year-ago period to $124.8 million.
ACMI segment contribution in the third quarter of 2018 increased slightly compared with the prior-year period, primarily due to a significant increase in block-hour volumes partially offset by the impact of unscheduled maintenance; higher crew costs, including enhanced wages and work rules resulting from an interim labor agreement with our Southern Air pilots; and the redeployment of 747-400 VIP-configured passenger aircraft to Charter after acquisition from a former CMI customer. Block hours grew 13% during the period, reflecting increased 767 flying for Amazon and the start-up of 747-400 flying for several new customers. Revenue per block hour during the quarter was relatively in line with the third quarter of 2017, primarily due to a mix effect reflecting an increase in widebody 747-400F ACMI flying that was offset by an increase in smaller-gauge 767 CMI flying.
Higher Charter segment contribution during the period was primarily driven by an increase in military and commercial cargo demand and higher yields excluding fuel, partially offset by an increase in heavy maintenance. Higher average block-hour rates during the quarter primarily reflected higher fuel prices and higher yields excluding fuel.
In Dry Leasing, higher segment contribution primarily reflected the placement of additional 767-300 converted freighter aircraft throughout the second half of 2017 and first three quarters of 2018, as well as the placement of one 777-200 freighter in February 2018 and a second one in July 2018.
Higher unallocated income and expenses, net during the quarter primarily reflected a ratification bonus related to an interim agreement to enhance the terms and conditions of employment of our Southern Air, Inc. pilots; fleet growth initiatives; amortization of a customer incentive asset; and an increase in unallocated interest expense.
Reported earnings in the third quarter of 2018 also included an effective income tax rate of 0.0%, due mainly to nondeductible or nontaxable changes in the value of outstanding warrants as well as a deferred income tax benefit of approximately $8.7 million related to the renewal of our Titan dry-leasing subsidiary’s participation in an aircraft-leasing incentive program in Singapore. On an adjusted basis, our results reflected an effective income tax rate of 0.0%.
Reported income from continuing operations, net of taxes, for the nine months ended September 30, 2018, totaled $59.6 million, or $2.27 per diluted share, which included an unrealized loss on financial instruments of $11.7 million related to outstanding warrants and a special charge of $9.4 million related to engines held for sale. Results for the first nine months compared with income from continuing operations of $14.9 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, which included an unrealized loss on financial instruments of $36.2 million, for the nine months ended September 30, 2017.
On an adjusted basis, income from continuing operations, net of taxes, in the first nine months of 2018 totaled $117.3 million, or $4.17 per diluted share, compared with $67.1 million, or $2.48 per diluted share, in the first nine months of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA in the first nine months of 2018 increased $78.2 million to $344.1 million.
Cash and Short-Term Investments
At September 30, 2018, our cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and restricted cash totaled $244.7 million, compared with $305.5 million at December 31, 2017.
The change in position resulted from cash used for investing activities, partially offset by cash provided by operating and financing activities.
Net cash used for investing activities during the first nine months of 2018 primarily related to capital expenditures and payments for flight equipment and modifications, including the acquisition of 777-200 aircraft, 767-300 passenger aircraft and related freighter-conversion costs, spare engines and GEnx engine performance upgrade kits.
Net cash provided by financing activities during the period primarily reflected proceeds from our financings of 777-200 and 767-300 aircraft, partially offset by payments on debt obligations.
Enhanced 2018 Outlook
Consistent with our strong year-to-date performance and our fourth-quarter expectations, we expect our full-year 2018 revenue to exceed $2.6 billion; our adjusted EBITDA to increase to more than $525 million; and our adjusted net income to increase near or above 50% compared with 2017 adjusted net income of $133.7 million.
We see volumes for the year rising approximately 17% to around 297,000 block hours, with about 75% of the hours in ACMI and the balance in Charter.
Aircraft maintenance expense in 2018 is expected to total approximately $335 million, mainly reflecting an increase in daily line maintenance due to the growth in block hours. Depreciation and amortization is expected to total approximately $215 million. In addition, core capital expenditures, which exclude aircraft and engine purchases, are expected to total approximately $105 to $115 million, mainly for parts and components for our fleet.
We also expect our full-year 2018 adjusted effective income tax rate to be approximately 15%.
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 third-quarter 2018 financial and operating results at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, November 1, 2018.
Interested parties are invited to listen to the call live over the Internet at www.atlasair.com (click on “Investor Information,” click on “Presentations” and on the link to the third-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 November 8 by dialing (855) 859-2056 (U.S. Toll Free) or (404) 537-3406 (from outside the U.S.) and using Access Code 8787259#.
About Non-GAAP Financial Measures
To supplement our financial statements presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we present certain non-GAAP financial measures to assist in the evaluation of our business performance. These non-GAAP measures include Adjusted EBITDA; Adjusted income from continuing operations, net of taxes; Adjusted Diluted EPS from continuing operations, net of taxes; Adjusted effective tax rate; and Free Cash Flow, which exclude certain noncash income and expenses, and items impacting year-over-year comparisons of our results. These non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for Income (loss) from continuing operations, net of taxes; Diluted EPS from continuing operations, net of taxes; Effective tax rate; and Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities, which are the most directly comparable measures of performance prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Our management uses these non-GAAP financial measures in assessing the performance of the company’s ongoing operations and in planning and forecasting future periods. We believe that these adjusted measures, when considered together with the corresponding U.S. GAAP financial measures and the reconciliations to those measures, provide meaningful supplemental information to assist investors and analysts in understanding our financial results and assessing our prospects for future performance. For example:
• Adjusted EBITDA; Adjusted income from continuing operations, net of taxes; and Adjusted Diluted EPS from continuing operations, net of taxes, provide a more comparable basis to analyze operating results and earnings and are measures commonly used by shareholders to measure our performance. In addition, management’s incentive compensation is determined, in part, by using Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted income from continuing operations, net of taxes.
• Adjusted effective tax rate provides improved insight into the tax effects of our ongoing business operations.
• Free Cash Flow helps investors assess our ability, over the long term, to create value for our shareholders as it represents cash available to execute our capital allocation strategy.
*We provide guidance on an adjusted basis and are unable to provide forwarding-looking guidance on a U.S. GAAP basis or a reconciliation to the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measures because we are unable to predict with reasonable certainty the ultimate outcome of certain significant items. The principal item is the impact on our results of our outstanding warrants, which are highly dependent on the change in our stock price during the period reported. These items are uncertain, depend on various factors, and could have a material impact on our U.S. GAAP results.
About Atlas Air Worldwide:
Atlas Air Worldwide is a leading global provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services. It is the parent company of Atlas Air, Inc., Southern Air Holdings, Inc. and Titan Aviation Holdings, Inc., and is the majority shareholder of Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, Inc. Our companies operate the world’s largest fleet of 747 freighter aircraft and provide customers a broad array of Boeing 747, 777, 767, 757 and 737 aircraft for domestic, regional and international cargo and passenger operations.
Atlas Air Worldwide’s press releases, SEC filings and other information may be accessed through the company’s home page, www.atlasair.com.
This release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that reflect Atlas Air Worldwide’s current views with respect to certain current and future events and financial performance. Those statements are based on management’s beliefs, plans, expectations and assumptions, and on information currently available to management. Generally, the words “will,” “may,” “should,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “continue,” “believe,” “seek,” “project,” “estimate,” and similar expressions used in this release that do not relate to historical facts are intended to identify forward-looking statements.
Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release. They are and will be, as the case may be, subject to many risks, uncertainties and factors relating to the operations and business environments of Atlas Air Worldwide and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “companies”) that may cause the actual results of the companies to be materially different from any future results, express or implied, in such forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: our ability to effectively operate the network service contemplated by our agreements with Amazon, including the cost and timing of securing any aircraft necessary to fulfill our agreements; the risk that the anticipated benefits of our agreements with Amazon will not be realized when expected, or at all; the possibility that Amazon may terminate its agreements with the companies; the ability of the companies to operate pursuant to the terms of their financing facilities; the ability of the companies to obtain and maintain normal terms with vendors and service providers; the companies’ ability to maintain contracts that are critical to their operations; the ability of the companies to fund and execute their business plan; the ability of the companies to attract, motivate and/or retain key executives, pilots and associates; the ability of the companies to attract and retain customers; the continued availability of our wide-body aircraft; demand for cargo services in the markets in which the companies operate; economic conditions; the effects of any hostilities or act of war (in the Middle East or elsewhere) or any terrorist attack; failure or disruption of our information technology systems; labor costs and relations, work stoppages and service slowdowns; the outcome of pending negotiations with our pilots’ union; financing costs; the cost and availability of war risk insurance; our ability to maintain adequate internal controls over financial reporting; aviation fuel costs; security-related costs; competitive pressures on pricing (especially from lower-cost competitors); volatility in the international currency markets; weather conditions; government legislation and regulation; changes to our provisional estimates of the impact of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017; consumer perceptions of the companies’ products and services; anticipated and future litigation; and other risks and uncertainties set forth from time to time in Atlas Air Worldwide’s reports to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
For additional information, we refer you to the risk factors set forth under the heading “Risk Factors” in the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent reports on Form 10-Q filed by Atlas Air Worldwide with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Other factors and assumptions not identified above may also affect the forward-looking statements, and these other factors and assumptions may also cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed.
Except as stated in this release, Atlas Air Worldwide is not providing guidance or estimates regarding its anticipated business and financial performance for 2018 or thereafter.
Atlas Air Worldwide assumes no obligation to update such statements contained in this release to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such estimates other than as required by law and expressly disclaims any obligation to revise or update publically any forward-looking statement to reflect future events or circumstances.
* * *