Air China Limited Announces 2009 Annual Results
Record Operating Profit in Complex Market Environment Strengthened Position to Capture Growth Opportunities
23 Apr, 2010, 02:11 ET
HONG KONG, April 23 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Air China Limited ("Air China" or "the Company," together with its subsidiaries, collectively "the Group") (HKEx: 00753; LSE: AIRC; SSE: 601111: ADR OTC: AIRYY), today announced its financial results (1) for the twelve months ended December 31, 2009 ("the Period").
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080625/CNW017LOGO ) Results Highlights -- Turnover was RMB51.39 billion, a decrease of 2.86% year-over-year -- Operating expenses were RMB45.89 billion, a decrease of 26.82% year- over-year -- Fuel cost was RMB14.47 billion, representing a 36.03% decrease year- over-year -- Profit attributable to shareholders was RMB4.85 billion, compared with net loss(restated) of RMB9.26 billion in 2008 -- Basic earnings per share was RMB0.41, compared with a basic loss per share(restated) of RMB0.78 in 2008
In 2009, China experienced a quicker-than-expected economic recovery, which underpinned the strong growth of the domestic aviation industry. With the stabilization of global economy, international aviation markets also began to recover towards the latter part of the year. Against this backdrop, the Company was able to capitalize on market opportunities through the continued execution of its growth strategy and the timely implementation of strategic measures focusing on hub development, capacity allocation optimization, stringent cost control and yield management enhancement. These strategic efforts allowed the Company to achieve a strong recovery in our operating and financial results with a record high operating profit in 2009. The Company's net profit attributable to shareholders for the year amounted to RMB4.85 billion.
In 2009, the Company's turnover was RMB51.39 billion, a decrease of 2.86%, compared with RMB52.91 billion (restated) in 2008.
Passenger revenue was RMB42.7 billion, a year-over-year decrease of 1.5% from RMB43.35 billion (restated). Cargo revenue fell 24.9% to RMB5.4 billion, from RMB7.19 billion in 2008 (restated).
Total operating expenses decreased by 26.82%, to RMB45.89 billion, from RMB62.72 billion(restated) in 2008, primarily due to the drop in average jet fuel prices as compared to 2008.
Driven by the decrease in average jet fuel prices, the Company's fuel cost dropped by 36.03% year-over-year to RMB14.47 billion in 2009. However, the suspension of the collection of the domestic jet fuel surcharge in the first three quarters of the year resulted in a 56.28% decrease in fuel surcharges.
Gain from Hedging Contract
The upward trend in fuel prices during the year resulted in a decrease in negative fair value of fuel hedging contracts by the end of the year. During the Period, the Company realized a fair value gain from hedging contracts of RMB2.76 billion, yielding a positive contribution to the results for the Period.
During the Period, the Company recorded an operating profit of RMB5.5 billion, compared with a loss (restated) of RMB9.81 billion in 2008. The turnaround in operating profit was mainly due to increased revenue from growing domestic traffic, and change in fair value of fuel derivative contract.
Profit attributable to shareholders was RMB4.85 billion, compared with a loss(restated) of RMB9.26 billion in 2008. The enhancement of profitability was primarily due to the significant improvement in operating profit, the increase in investment gain and the decrease in negative fair value from fuel hedging contracts.
In accordance with the relevant Chinese laws and regulations, the Company did not have distributable profit for 2009. As a result, no final dividend will be paid out for 2009.
The Company has separately announced the first quarter of 2010 unaudited results.
In 2009, the Company carried a total of 41.28 million passengers, an increase of 14.23% from 36.14 million in 2008. Passenger capacity, measured by Available Seat Kilometers (ASK), increased by 7.42% to 98.62 billion. Capacity on domestic routes increased by 18.46%, while capacity on international and regional routes decreased by 5.51% and 1.22%, respectively. Overall passenger traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) increased by 9.78% to 75.47 billion. Traffic on domestic routes increased by 19.26%, and traffic on international and regional routes decreased by 1.26% and 1.24%, respectively. Passenger load factor improved to 76.53%, an increase of 1.65 percentage points year-over-year. Yield per RPK was RMB0.57, down by 9.52% year-over-year.
Despite the significant drop in cargo market demand in the first half of 2009, there was a gradual recovery in demand in the second half of the year. The recovery in cargo services was achieved by the implementation of a range of strategic initiatives namely network optimization , improved product and strengthened yield management, which resulted in the segment achieving a profit in 2009. Cargo capacity, measured by Available Freight Tonne Kilometers ("AFTK"), increased by 2.38% to 6.51 billion in 2009. Cargo traffic, measured by Revenue Freight Tonne Kilometers ("RFTK"), decreased by 2.28% to 3.53 billion. The cargo and mail load factor was 54.23%, a decrease of 2.58 percentage points.
The Company made substantial progress in hub development during the year. The number of aircraft based in Beijing hub was 150, an increase of 14. Market share for the hub, measured by RPK, reached to 52.2%. The number of transfer passengers increased by 34%.
The Company also further strengthened its position in the Chengdu hub and Shanghai international gateway. The expanded network and service resulted in a significant improvement in hub connectivity. The number of transfer passengers at Chengdu and Shanghai increased by 74% and 10% respectively.
Consolidation of Resources
In 2009, the Company executed a number of strategic measures in resources consolidation. First, it established a Hubei subsidiary that quickly commenced operation during the year. The Hubei unit allowed the Company to establish a strong foothold in Central China while providing a platform to further improve the domestic network. The Company also formed a subsidiary in Shanghai to consolidate its resources and to enhance its competitive position in Eastern China.
In addition, the Company increased its holdings in Cathay Pacific Airways to 29.9%, further developing the foundation for a closer strategic relationship with Cathay Pacific. Finally, the Company completed the acquisition of minority ownership of Air China Cargo during the year, paving the way for formation of the cargo joint venture.
Fleet Optimization and Network
Air China adhered to its prudent policy relating to fleet expansion and managed its fleet in a proactive and flexible manner. During the year, the Company added 31 aircraft, all narrow-body aircraft such as models A321 and B737-800. Meanwhile, the Company phased out 12 aircraft including models B767, B737-300/600, B747-200F.
In view of the changing traffic demand dynamics in both domestic and international markets, the Company adjusted capacity deployment accordingly. A higher portion of capacity was allocated to the domestic market to meet growing demand while capacity for certain international routes was reduced in response to softening demand. The allocation of capacity was skewed towards high-yield and high-return markets with low-yield and heavy-loss making routes reduced.
As of the end of December, the Company (excluding Air Macau) operated a fleet of 262 aircraft. The Company's network covers 32 countries and regions, including 63 international, 90 domestic, and 3 regional cities. 19 routes were added in response to market demand.
Sales and Marketing Initiatives
In response to the prevailing dynamic market conditions, the Company also adjusted its sales and marketing strategy to enhance yield performance. The Company stepped-up sales efforts aimed at frequent flyers and higher-end travelers, which enabled it to achieve gradual increase in premium class revenue amid an industry-wide drop in premium class demand. Frequent Flyer members rose to 11.47 million and contributed sales of RMB9.89 billion, an increase of 16.2%. Sales from corporate customers increased by 15.7% year- over-year to RMB4.98 billion while sales from e-commerce reached RMB3.27 billion, an increase of 35.5% year-over-year.
During the year, the Company launched seven express service routes, including Beijing to Chengdu and Beijing to Chongqing, expanding the service network and providing more convenient service to travelers.
During the year, Air China maintained its cost advantage in the industry. A wide range of initiatives were put in place to improve operating efficiencies and to further reduce costs. These measures included adjustments in the fleet structure, better alignment of capacity and demand, an extensive energy saving program and optimization of the Company's debt structure.
"2009 was an historic year for Air China as we successfully navigated the extraordinarily challenging aviation market, emerging with strengthened operating and management capabilities," Mr. Kong Dong, Chairman of Air China said.
"Nevertheless, we will undoubtedly face new challenges in the year ahead. The positive trends in the aviation industry will continue with the support of the recovering global economy. However, the rapid increase in domestic capacity and the growing optimism and expanded capacity of international carriers will further intensify competition in the Chinese aviation market. In addition, High Speed Rail will begin to impact certain segments of the market, while fluctuations in oil prices and exchange rates will create further uncertainties in our operations.
"Despite these challenges, our business is well positioned to benefit from China's rapid economic growth which will drive the continuous demand for domestic air traffic. International air travel will also recover with the global economy. The Company's position will be further enhanced with an increased interest in Shenzhen Airlines, which perfectly complements our ongoing strategic hub strategy and will help to further bolster our network and domestic market position. Our strengthened partnership with Cathay Pacific and the joint initiatives will also deliver numerous operational benefits and synergies. We are confident that these initiatives, together with our enhanced operating capabilities and the support of our united team, will enable us to deliver a better result for our shareholders," Mr. Dong concluded.
(1) All figures are unaudited, stated according to International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS")
About Air China Limited
Air China Limited (Air China) is the national flag carrier of China and a leading provider of air passenger, air cargo and airline-related services and products in China. Its operational head office is in Beijing, a major domestic and international hub in China. It also provides airline-related services, including aircraft maintenance, ground services in Beijing, Chengdu, and other locations. As of 31 December, 2009, the Company operated a fleet of 262 aircraft, serving 156 destinations in 32 countries and regions. Air China was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange on December 15, 2004 under codes 00753 and AIRC respectively. On August 18, 2006, Air China was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange under code 601111. For further details, please visit Air China's website: http://www.airchina.com.cn .
Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains projections and forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current views with respect to future events and financial performance. These views are based on current assumptions which are subject to various risks and which may change over time. No assurance can be given that future events will occur that projections will be achieved, or that the Company's assumptions are correct. Actual results may differ materially from those projected.
Contact: Air China: Rao Xinyu, General Manager of IR Air China Limited +86-10-6146-2777 [email protected] Joyce Zhang Air China Limited +86-10-6146-2560 [email protected] Investor Relations: Ruby Yim Taylor Rafferty, Hong Kong +852-3196-3712 [email protected] Mahmoud Siddig Taylor Rafferty, New York +1-212-889-4350 [email protected]
SOURCE Air China Limited
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