Finnair reports its 2017 financial results and outlook for 2018

Finnair Airbus A350-941 OH-LWB (msn 019) (Oneworld) LHR (SPA). Image: 934962.

Finnair issued its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2017 and also issued its outlook for this year:

Q4 comparable operating result increased to 22.9 million euros and FY 2017 comparable operating result tripled to a record-high 170.4 million euros

Fourth Quarter – October–December 2017

  •  Revenue increased by 13.2% to 645.3 million euros (569.9)*.
  •  Available seat kilometres (ASK) grew by 17.2%.
  •  Comparable operating result was 22.9 million euros (1.6).
  •  Operating result was 23.5 million euros (18.2).
  •  Comparable EBITDAR** was 94.0 million euros (59.4).
  •  Net cash flow from operating activities was 92.6 million euros (30.5), and net cash flow from investing activities was -85.6 million euros (-264.7).***
  •  Unit revenue (RASK) decreased by 3.4%.
  •  Unit cost (CASK) decreased by 6.6%, and unit cost at constant currency excluding fuel decreased by 3.1%.
  •  Ancillary and retail revenue per passenger grew by 3.2% to 12.60 euros.
  •  Earnings per share were 0.11 euros (0.08).

Full Year 2017 – January–December 2017

  •  Revenue increased by 10.9% to 2,568.4 million euros (2,316.8)*.
  •  Available seat kilometres (ASK) grew by 8.9%.
  •  Comparable operating result was 170.4 million euros (55.2).
  •  Operating result was 224.8 million euros (116.2), including a sales gain on an A350 aircraft.
  •  Comparable EBITDAR** was 436.2 million euros (270.4).
  •  Net cash flow from operating activities was 382.3 million euros (219.7), and net cash flow from investing activities was -157.5 million euros (-499.6).***
  •  Unit revenue (RASK) increased by 1.8%.
  •  Unit cost (CASK) decreased by 2.6% and unit cost at constant currency excluding fuel increased by 0.3%.
  •  The 20-million euro cost-efficiency program was completed in full by the summer.
  •  Ancillary and retail revenue per passenger grew by 5.2% to 12.15 euros.
  •  Earnings per share were 1.23 euros (0.55).
  •  The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of 0.30 euros per share be distributed for 2017.

*     Unless otherwise stated, comparisons and figures in parentheses refer to the comparison period, i.e. the same period last year.
**    Comparable operating result + depreciation + lease payments for aircraft.
***  Net cash flow from investing activities in Q4, includes 26.8 million euros of investments to money market funds or other financial assets maturing after more than three months. In 2017, these investments decreased in net terms by 82.9 million euros. These investments are part of the Group’s liquidity management.  

Outlook  

Global airline traffic is expected to grow strongly in 2018. Finnair expects increased competition as existing and new operators increase capacity, particularly on routes linking Europe with Asia and with North America.

Finnair plans on increasing its capacity by more than 15 per cent in 2018, with most of this growth coming in the first half of the year. Passenger volume is expected to grow broadly in line with capacity while revenue growth is expected to be slightly lower.

In line with its disclosure policy, Finnair will issue guidance on its full-year comparable operating result as part of its half-year report in July.

CEO Pekka Vauramo: 

The year 2017 was excellent for Finnair. The favourable business environment supported our growth together with the right capacity, route network and product decisions we made in recent years. We ended 2017 in the middle of the fastest growth phase in Finnair’s history and we plan to continue our transformation and growth also in 2018.

Towards the end of the year, our route network was expanded by four new long-haul destinations, namely Goa, Havana, Puerto Plata and Puerto Vallarta. At the same time, we increased our flight frequency to several Asian and European destinations. We also invested heavily in our routes to Northern Finland by increasing our capacity between Helsinki and Northern Finland by more than 20 per cent for the current winter season and by introducing direct flights to Lapland from London, Paris and Zürich. Lapland is again the number one European destination for our Chinese customers this winter. Passenger demand on our route network remained strong from October to December, and we achieved a new passenger record during the period by carrying nearly three million passengers. The favorable development continued also in ancillary revenue, cargo and travel services. Our comparable operating result for the fourth quarter was a record high 22.9 million euros.

In 2017, our revenue grew to 2,568 million euros and our comparable operating result more than tripled, reaching 170 million euros. While increasing our capacity by nearly 9 per cent, we also managed to increase our passenger load factor by 3.5 percentage points. Our customer satisfaction, measured by our Net Promoter Score, increased by 4 units to 47.

During the year, we also completed the first phase of our long-haul fleet renewal. We made significant investments in the development of digital solutions and services to enhance the customer experience and to improve processes and ways to work at Finnair. Other significant steps we took included the commissioning of the new Nordic Cargo COOL terminal and the launch of the new Finnair Holidays product. These moves enable us to deliver more personalized services to our customers and to facilitate further growth going forward. In travel services, Aurinkomatkat Suntours became the largest operator in terms of the number of customers in the Finnish market in 2017.

I am satisfied with the renewal efforts we made during the year. They have contributed to our growth and improved customer satisfaction. I am also pleased with our records in monthly passenger volumes and passenger load factors, as they indicate that our route network and product have developed in the right direction.

Everyone at Finnair has made an excellent contribution during this period of growth and transformation.

The turnaround we have achieved in our operations and financial performance is a shared accomplishment by everyone at Finnair. As a sign of gratitude for the transformation that has driven the company forward on the path of profitable growth, Finnair decided to reward Finnair’s employees with a one-time bonus announced in December. Throughout this period of growth, we have invested in the development and well-being of our employees. We will continue these efforts and our other development efforts in 2018 to support our continued strong growth.

Dividend policy and the Board’s proposal for the distribution of profit

The aim of Finnair’s dividend policy is to pay, on average, at least one-third of the earnings per share as a dividend during an economic cycle. The aim is to take into account the company’s earnings trend and outlook,

financial situation and capital needs in the distribution of dividends. In 2017, earnings per share was 1.23

euros (0.55).

Finnair Plc’s distributable equity amounted to 424,036,052.14 euros on December 31, 2017. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of 0.30 euros per share be distributed for 2017.

Copyright Photo: Finnair Airbus A350-941 OH-LWB (msn 019) (Oneworld) LHR (SPA). Image: 934962.

Finnair aircraft slide show:

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