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WestJet reports first quarter net earnings of $37.2 million

WestJet (TSX: WJA) today announced its first quarter results for 2018, with net earnings of $37.2 million, or $0.32 per fully diluted share. While remaining profitable in a challenging quarter, this result compares with net earnings of $46.7 million, or $0.40 per fully diluted share reported in the first quarter of 2017. WestJet achieved its 52nd consecutive quarter of profitability and flew an all-time quarterly record of 6.1 million guests. Based on the trailing twelve months, the airline achieved a return on invested capital of 9.5 per cent, down from to 10.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2017.

"Even though winter 2018 brought many operational challenges, we successfully achieved record load factors and increased revenue by 6.9 per cent on a capacity increase of 4.3 per cent," Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "I want to thank every individual WestJetter for rising to the challenge through a very difficult operating quarter. Nonetheless, the quarter saw net earnings and margin decline as we continue to invest in the strategy laid out at Investor Day, in a higher fuel environment. We remain laser-focused on strategic execution to ensure we drive shareholder returns."

Operating highlights (stated in Canadian dollars)

 

Q1 2018

Q1 2017

Change

Net earnings (millions)

$37.2

$46.7

(20.4%)

Diluted earnings per share

$0.32

$0.40

(20.0%)

Total revenue (millions)

$1,191.7

$1,114.7

6.9%

Operating margin

4.7%

7.1%

(2.4 pts.)

ASMs (available seat miles) (billions)

8.029

7.699

4.3%

RPMs (revenue passenger miles) (billions)

6.810

6.393

6.5%

Load factor

84.8%

83.0%

1.8 pts.

Segment guests

6,088,954

5,687,659

7.1%

Yield (revenue per revenue passenger mile) (cents)

17.50

17.44

0.3%

RASM (revenue per available seat mile) (cents)

14.84

14.48

2.5%

CASM (cost per available seat mile) (cents)

14.15

13.45

5.2%

Fuel costs per litre (cents)

73

64

14.1%

CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share (cents)*

10.57

10.30

2.6%

*Refer to reconciliations in the accompanying tables for further information regarding calculations.

Dividend declaration
On May 7, 2018, WestJet's Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.14 per common voting share and variable voting share for the second quarter of 2018, to be paid on June 29, 2018, to shareholders of record on June 13, 2018. All dividends paid by WestJet are, pursuant to subsection 89(14) of the Income Tax Act, designated as eligible dividends, unless indicated otherwise. An eligible dividend paid to a Canadian resident is entitled to the enhanced dividend tax credit.

Caution regarding forward-looking information
Certain information set forth in this news release, including, without limitation, information regarding our confidence that the strategic initiatives we are pursuing position us for continued profitable growth is forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. By its nature, forward-looking information is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond WestJet's control. The forward-looking information contained in this news release is based on WestJet's current forecasts and strategy, the expected demand environment, the utilization of our fleet, the forward-curve for jet fuel price, the expected exchange rate of the Canadian dollar to the U.S. dollar, agreements and bookings, but may vary due to factors including, but not limited to, changes in guest demand, changes in fuel prices, delays in aircraft delivery, general economic conditions, competitive environment, ability to effectively implement and maintain critical systems and other factors and risks described in WestJet's public reports and filings which are available under WestJet's profile at sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking information as actual results may vary materially from the forward-looking information. WestJet does not undertake to update, correct or revise any forward-looking information as a result of any new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable law.

Non-GAAP measures
This news release contains disclosure respecting non-GAAP performance measures including, without limitation, CASM, excluding fuel and employee profit share and return on invested capital. These measures are included to enhance the overall understanding of WestJet's current financial performance and to provide an alternative method for assessing WestJet's operating results in a manner that is focused on the performance of WestJet's ongoing operations, and to provide a more consistent basis for comparison between reporting periods. These measures are not calculated in accordance with, or an alternative to, GAAP and do not have standardized meanings. Therefore, they may not be comparable to similar measures provided by other entities. Readers are urged to review the section entitled "Reconciliation of non-GAAP and additional GAAP measures" in WestJet's management's discussion and analysis of financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2018 which is available under WestJet's profile on SEDAR at sedar.com, for a further discussion of such non-GAAP measures and a reconciliation of such measures to GAAP. The financial information accompanying this news release was prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards unless otherwise noted.

Management's discussion and analysis of financial results and consolidated financial statements and notes for the three months ended March 31, 2018, are available through the Internet in the Media and Investor Relations section of westjet.com or under WestJet's SEDAR profile at sedar.com.

Analyst conference call
WestJet will hold its quarterly analysts' conference call today, May 8, 2018, at 8 a.m. MT (10 a.m. ET). President and CEO Ed Sims and Executive Vice-President of Finance and CFO Harry Taylor will discuss WestJet's first quarter results and answer questions from financial analysts and members of the media. The conference call will be available in Toronto by calling 416-915-3239, in Vancouver by calling 604-638-5340 and across Canada and the United States through the toll-free telephone number 1-800-319-4610. The call can also be heard live through an Internet webcast accessible via the Media and Investor Relations section of westjet.com.

Refer to full documentation in the attachments box below.

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This press release was sourced from WestJet on 08-May-2018.