Qantas Group today announced Underlying Profit Before Tax of $95 million for the year ended 30 June 2012.
The Group’s portfolio of businesses faced a challenging year – however, it is well-positioned for a strong, sustainable future.
The result was materially impacted by record high fuel costs ($4.3 billion, up $645 million) and industrial action culminating in the grounding of the Qantas fleet ($194 million). Operating conditions for the global aviation industry deteriorated significantly during the year, affecting most major airline businesses.
There were also one-off costs of $398 million, which are not included in Underlying PBT, as the Group initiated a turnaround plan for Qantas’ international network and addressed its legacy cost base.
As a result, the Group reported a Statutory Loss After Tax of $244 million for the year.
All parts of the Group were profitable with the exception of Qantas’ international network. Jetstar and Qantas Frequent Flyer achieved record results2 and Qantas’ domestic operations outperformed the prior year. The Group holds a leading position in the Australian domestic market while Jetstar continues to expand in Asia, including through the successful launch of Jetstar Japan.
In line with previous market guidance, Qantas’ international network made an Underlying EBIT loss of approximately $450 million and Qantas and Jetstar’s domestic networks together delivered Underlying EBIT of approximately $600 million.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the Group had launched the biggest transformation program since privatisation in extremely challenging circumstances.
“Qantas has been through an exceptional period in its history over the past 12 months,” Mr Joyce said.
“Over the course of the year we made significant progress in advancing the Group’s strategy – building on our strong domestic business and frequent flyer program and growing Jetstar across Asia. Qantas’ international turnaround plan is on track and set for improvement in 2012/13.
“We are now coming off a period of high capital expenditure that has given us the youngest fleet since Qantas became a public company in 1995 – an average age of 8.3 years for passenger aircraft4. Our Boeing 747 reconfiguration program is nearly complete, with the aircraft receiving outstanding customer feedback, and from this October we will also upgrade our domestic Boeing 767 fleet.
“We will continue to invest capital efficiently as we target greater competitiveness and customer satisfaction to deliver a stronger Qantas Group.”
The Group improved cash flow during the year, achieving a free cash flow positive position of $206 million in the second half of 2011/12. Cash held at 30 June 2012 was $3.4 billion with access to a $300 million undrawn standby facility, and the Group retained an investment-grade credit rating. Ten narrow-body aircraft were purchased with cash, meaning the Group has added 18 new unencumbered aircraft over the past two years.
During the year the Group took steps to reduce planned 2012/2013 capital expenditure to $1.9 billion, and expenditure will remain at that level through 2013/2014.
Fleet renewal is substantially complete after the delivery of 114 new aircraft over the past four years and the Group will now shift its focus to debt reduction. The Group’s future fleet delivery profile has been restructured with a reduction in potential commitments for the Boeing 787-9 from 85 to 50 (announced separately today), available from 2016.
Qantas reported an Underlying EBIT loss of $21 million, down $249 million compared with 2010/11, reflecting the poor performance of the international network. The Qantas segment result was also severely impacted by record fuel costs and industrial action.
Customer satisfaction in the domestic market is at its highest level in over three years and the Group continues to invest in Qantas’ domestic network, product and service. It remains the airline of choice for corporate travellers with strong double-digit corporate revenue growth and an estimated 84 per cent share of the domestic corporate travel market.
Significant progress was made in Qantas’ international turnaround plan launched in August 2011. Qantas increased capacity to its Dallas/Fort Worth and Santiago hubs, reconfigured seven out of a planned nine Boeing 747 aircraft with award-winning A380 interiors, strengthened alliance relationships and withdrew from major loss-making routes. Major business transformation initiatives, including heavy maintenance consolidation, were commenced during the year.
The benefits from these initiatives have started to flow and will deliver annual savings of approximately $300 million when all measures announced to date have been implemented.
Jetstar reported record Underlying EBIT of $203 million, up $34 million or 20 per cent on the prior year.
Ancillary revenues grew by 27 per cent and unit costs were reduced to record lows. Domestically, Jetstar continues to hold a clear leadership position in the price-sensitive market.
Despite challenging operating conditions, Jetstar achieved capacity and passenger growth in all markets.
Jetstar Japan was established during the year and commenced operations in July 2012, five months ahead of schedule, omplementing airlines based in Singapore (Jetstar Asia) and Vietnam (Jetstar Pacific) – with Jetstar Hong Kong to be added in 2013, subject to regulatory approval. Each of these investments draws on Jetstar’s well-established brand, world-class ancillary revenue model and strong local partners.
Qantas Frequent Flyer achieved a record result, with Normalised Underlying EBIT of $231 million, up 14 per cent compared with 2010/11. The continued expansion and enhancement of the program saw billings increase by 14 per cent to $1.2 billion. Membership now stands at 8.6 million members, with over 500 program partners.
The acquisition of Wishlist Holdings Ltd, establishment of a new membership tier (Platinum One) and addition of major new partners such as Optus all contributed to Qantas Frequent Flyer’s strong performance.
Qantas Freight’s Underlying EBIT was $45 million, down $17 million compared with the prior year. The result reflects a broader downturn in global air freight markets, plus adverse fuel price and foreign exchange impacts that were only partially offset by yield improvements.
The Group’s operating environment and economic outlook for the first half of 2012/2013 remains challenging, volatile and dependent on a number of uncontrollable external factors.
Group capacity is expected to increase by 3-4 per cent in the first half of 2012/2013 compared to the first half of 2011/2012, while maintaining flexibility.
The Group aims to maintain a profit-maximising 65 per cent domestic market share. Given current market conditions, Group domestic capacity is expected to increase by 9-11 per cent in the first half of 2012/2013 compared to the first half of 2011/2012. However, the Group has significant flexibility to adjust domestic capacity should current market conditions change.
Underlying fuel costs (excluding carbon tax) for the Group are expected to be approximately $2.3 billion5 in the first half of 2012/2013 compared to $2.2 billion in the first half of 2011/2012, due to higher forward market jet fuel prices and increased flying.
No Group profit guidance is provided at this time due to the high degree of volatility and uncertainty in global economic conditions, fuel prices, exchange rates, as well as the major transformational change agenda underway.