Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Atlas Air) (New York-JFK) today announced adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders of $5.9 million, or $0.22 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2013 compared with adjusted earnings of $13.6 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2012.
On a reported basis, net income attributable to common stockholders in the first quarter totaled $20.1 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, compared with $12.8 million, or $0.48 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.
Adjusted earnings in the first quarter of 2013 exclude an income tax benefit of $14.2 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, related to the tax treatment of extraterritorial income from the offshore leasing of certain aircraft. Adjusted earnings in the first quarter of 2012 exclude fleet retirement costs of $0.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share.
First-quarter revenue grew 5% to $377.3 million, with operating income increasing 10% to $22.6 million and operating margin expanding slightly. Free cash flow for the period totaled $42.4 million compared with $1.0 million in the first quarter of 2012.
“Our first-quarter results and initiatives demonstrate the benefits of a modern, efficient fleet, diversified business mix and solid balance sheet in a challenging business environment,” said William J. Flynn, President and Chief Executive Officer.
“Operating income during the quarter reflected the strength of our ACMI operations, especially our new 747-8 freighters. It also gained from new organizational capabilities and the evolution of our business, such as our expanding 767 service and growing CMI operations. We also realized operating efficiencies through our continuous improvement initiatives.
“Capitalizing on our financial strength, we acquired an immediately profitable 777 freighter under long-term customer lease for our Dry Leasing business. We also implemented an immediately accretive share repurchase program that acquired 3.4% of our outstanding stock for a total of $36.5 million through late April.
“Earnings in the first quarter were in line with our expectations and our outlook for the year. As a result, we are affirming previous guidance for 2013 but we are raising our expected adjusted earnings per share to $4.80 from $4.65 to reflect our actual and anticipated share repurchases.”
Revenue, volume and profitability growth in our core ACMI business during the first quarter were driven by our new 747-8Fs, with four additional -8F aircraft in service compared with the first quarter of 2012, as well as the continued ramp up of CMI flying for Boeing and DHL Express.
Improved ACMI segment earnings during the period also 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 AMC Charter, strong growth in passenger service volumes partially offset a 41% reduction in cargo block hours, a reduction in the number of one-way AMC missions, and lower average cargo revenue per block hour, which led to a decline in segment contribution. Lower average passenger revenue per block hour during the period stemmed from an increase in flying on smaller-gauge 767 aircraft added to supplement our wide-body 747-400 passenger service and enhance our share of military passenger business.
Segment results in Commercial Charter reflected the seasonal nature of this business and were primarily related to a reduction in yields driven by soft first-quarter global charter-market conditions.
Results in the first quarter were also affected by higher non-operating expenses, primarily due to a reduction in capitalized interest on 747-8F aircraft that entered service.
Reported earnings for the first quarter of 2013 included an effective income tax rate benefit of 97.4%, reflecting a federal income tax benefit of $14.2 million related to the tax treatment of extraterritorial income from the offshore leasing of certain of our aircraft.
Cash, Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments
At March 31, 2013, our cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $343.9 million, compared with $419.9 million at December 31, 2012.
The change in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments was primarily driven by an increase in cash provided by operating and financing activities, offset by cash used for investing activities.
Net cash used for investing activities in the first quarter of 2013 primarily related to the purchase of a 747-8F aircraft for our ACMI operations and a 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. These proceeds were partially offset by payments on debt obligations and a prepayment under an accelerated share repurchase program agreement (“ASR”).
Share Repurchase Activity
Between mid-February and late April 2013, we repurchased 903,301 shares of our common stock for $36.5 million at an average cost of $40.40 per share. The shares were acquired pursuant to an ASR with an investment bank that settled on April 25, 2013.
We acquired 427,168 of these shares during the period ended March 31, 2013, which added $0.01 per diluted share to our adjusted and reported earnings for the first quarter.
Future repurchases may be made at our discretion, and the actual timing, form and amount will depend on company and market conditions.
We expect to generate strong earnings and cash flow in 2013. Led by ACMI, each of our business segments is expected to be profitable for the year.
Incorporating our share repurchase activity, we anticipate that our adjusted fully diluted earnings per share this year will total approximately $4.80, an increase from prior guidance of approximately $4.65. Including the extraterritorial income tax benefit of $0.54 per share, our reported fully diluted earnings per share in 2013 should be approximately $5.34.
Both adjusted and reported full-year 2013 EPS guidance assume the repurchase of $50.0 million of our outstanding stock during the year.
Our expectation for full year 2013 operating performance is unchanged from the outlook we issued last quarter. We now expect to fly fewer block hours in our Commercial Charter segment in 2013 than we previously forecast. We also expect lower operating expenses as a result of continuous improvement initiatives that drive productivity improvements and operating efficiencies. These initiatives target all aspects of our business, including engine overhauls, procurement efforts, passenger catering, ground travel, and crew scheduling.
Similar to the first quarter, adjusted and reported full-year earnings in 2013 will reflect strong growth from the company’s 747-8Fs in ACMI, driven by an increase in the number of -8F aircraft in ACMI service compared with 2012, including the incremental placement with Etihad Airways we announced today.
Market growth during 2013 should be seasonal and second-half weighted. We continue to anticipate a sequential increase in our quarterly earnings throughout the year, with approximately 75% of adjusted earnings per share and 66% of reported earnings per share occurring in the second half.
Based on our revised view, block-hour volumes in 2013 are now expected to total approximately 175,000 hours. ACMI segment flying should account for about 135,000, or 77%, of expected 2013 block hours, with about 22,000, or 13%, in Commercial Charter and 18,000, or 10%, in AMC Charter. Passenger charter flying should account for more than 10,000 AMC Charter block hours in 2013.
Based on anticipated deliveries of 747-8Fs in our outstanding order, the average number of -8Fs in service in 2013 should increase to more than eight from 4.3 in 2012.
In addition, we now anticipate that maintenance expense will total approximately $172 million in 2013, about 60% of which should be incurred in the first half of the year.
Mr. Flynn concluded: “In an environment of continuing global uncertainty, we are well-positioned to serve our customers and the airfreight markets. We have performed well. We are ready to capitalize on market improvements. And we are executing a strategic plan that leverages our core competencies, provides a basis for returning capital to our investors through share repurchases, and will enable us to grow over the long term.”
In other news, Atlas Air has confirmed the placement of its eighth Boeing 747-8 Freighter into ACMI service.
The aircraft will fly on behalf of Etihad Cargo, the cargo arm of Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, pursuant to a multi-year aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance agreement that commences in May 2013.
The new contract between the companies follows a letter of intent announced on April 1, 2013, and complements an existing Boeing 747-400F ACMI arrangement between Atlas and Etihad. The aircraft will be operated in full Etihad Cargo livery.
Copyright Photo: Pedro Pics. Atlas Air operates this Boeing 747-87UF N850GT (msn 37570) for Panalpina Air and Ocean in their colors.