Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo) (New York-JFK) announced adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders of $28.6 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, for the three months ended September 30, 2013, compared with $33.4 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, for the three months ended September 30, 2012.
On a reported basis, third-quarter 2013 net income attributable to common stockholders totaled $23.7 million, or $0.94 per diluted share, compared with $33.9 million, or $1.27 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012. Free cash flow of $73.8 million in the third quarter of 2013 compared with $98.9 million in the third quarter of 2012.
“Earnings in the third quarter of 2013 were below our expectations, reflecting market factors,” said William J. Flynn, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Demand in the commercial airfreight peak season through September was less than we anticipated. Airfreight yields remained under pressure, impacting our Commercial Charter segment. In addition, a decline in military charter demand led to a reduction in AMC volumes and fewer favorable one-way AMC missions.
“Results during the quarter were supported by strength in our core ACMI operations and growth in our Dry Leasing business. Led by our new 747-8 freighters in ACMI, we saw increasing contributions during the quarter from investments to diversify our business mix, including the addition of 777 freighters with predictable, long-term revenue and earnings streams in Dry Leasing; our expanding 767 service; growing CMI operations within ACMI; and ongoing continuous improvement initiatives.
“Reflecting our commitment to enhance stockholder value, we acquired a further 3.1% of our outstanding common stock through our share repurchase program from May through August. Combined with the shares that we bought through the end of April, we have repurchased approximately 6.5% of our shares for $72 million this year. In addition, our board of directors has increased our existing authority to repurchase shares from $9 million to $60 million.”
Revenue, volume and profitability growth in our core ACMI business during the third quarter were driven by our new 747-8Fs, with an average of 3.3 additional -8F aircraft in service compared with the third quarter of 2012, and the continued ramp up and expansion of CMI service.
Improved ACMI segment earnings during the period benefited from higher rates per block hour and lower maintenance expense for our 747-8Fs, partially offset by the redeployment of 747-400 aircraft to other business segments.
In Dry Leasing, revenue and profitability grew following the acquisition of one 777-200 LRF aircraft in March 2013 and two 777-200 LRF aircraft in July 2013. Each aircraft was acquired with a long-term customer lease already in effect.
In AMC Charter, a reduction in cargo and passenger block hours, as well as a reduced number of one-way AMC missions and a change in the proportion of those missions from outbound U.S. to inbound U.S., led to a significant decline in segment contribution. Higher average cargo and passenger revenue per block hour during the period stemmed from an increase in the average pegged fuel price set by the U.S. military.
Segment results in Commercial Charter primarily related to a reduction in yields driven by soft third-quarter global charter-market conditions. Results also reflected a reduction in return legs due to the change in the number and direction of one-way AMC missions.
Results in the third quarter were also affected by a reduction in capitalized interest on 747-8F aircraft that entered service.
Reported earnings for the third quarter of 2013 included an effective income tax rate of 31.3%, reflecting both the ongoing beneficial impact of lower taxes for certain foreign subsidiaries in our Dry Leasing business and the net impact of the resolution of certain income tax liabilities.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2013, adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders totaled $54.9 million, or $2.13 per diluted share, compared with $78.3 million, or $2.95 per diluted share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2012.
On a reported basis, nine-month 2013 net income attributable to common stockholders totaled $63.9 million, or $2.48 per diluted share, compared with $77.5 million, or $2.92 per diluted share, in the first nine months of 2012.
Free cash flow in the first nine months of 2013 increased to $180.8 million from $154.1 million in the first nine months of 2012.
Cash and Short-Term Investments
At September 30, 2013, our cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and restricted cash totaled $298.4 million, compared with $419.9 million at December 31, 2012.
The change in position at September 30 reflected cash provided by operating and financing activities offset by cash used for investing activities.
Net cash used for investing activities in the first nine months of 2013 primarily related to the purchase of two 747-8F aircraft as well as three 777-200 LRF aircraft for our Dry Leasing business.
Net cash provided by financing activities primarily reflected proceeds from the issuance of debt in connection with the acquisitions of these aircraft. Those proceeds were partially offset by payments on debt obligations and debt issuance costs.
Between mid-May and mid-August, we repurchased 820,276 shares of our common stock for $35.6 million. The shares were acquired pursuant to an accelerated share repurchase program with a financial institution that settled in August.
Through the nine months ended September 30, 2013, we repurchased a total of 1,723,577 shares, or 6.5%, of our outstanding common stock at December 31, 2012.
Future repurchases under our new $60 million authority may be made at our discretion, and the actual timing, form and amount will depend on company and market conditions.
Looking to full-year 2013, we expect fully diluted earnings per share to total between $3.40 and $3.80 on an adjusted basis and $3.75 and $4.15 on a reported basis.
Our current outlook reflects a much less robust commercial airfreight peak season than previously anticipated. While commercial airfreight volumes are strengthening, airfreight yields remain volatile. In addition, military cargo volumes have declined at a more rapid rate. Together, these factors affected our third-quarter results and have reduced anticipated profitability for the fourth quarter.
Partially offsetting these challenges are increasing contributions from investments to diversify the company’s business mix, led by new 747-8 freighters in the company’s core ACMI business; the addition of 777 freighters with predictable, long-term revenue and earnings streams in Dry Leasing; an expanding 767 service platform; entry into military and commercial charter passenger operations; and continuing growth in the company’s non-asset-intensive CMI operations. Also contributing are ongoing continuous improvement productivity and efficiency initiatives.
Mr. Flynn added: “Airfreight remains a long-term growth industry despite current market challenges. We are focused on the long-term growth of our business, and we are well-positioned to capitalize on market improvements. Our business model is solid and is complemented by substantial operating leverage, strong customer relationships and a superior fleet. We continue to strengthen our competitive position and generate substantial free cash flow, which will enhance stockholder value.”
Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/AirlinersGallery.com. Atlas Air’s Boeing 767-38E ER N641GT (msn 25132) is pictured in action at Frankfurt.
Polar Air Cargo: