Lufthansa Group reports solid business performance in the first quarter
Despite EUR 64m in restructuring costs from SCORE, the operating result remained stable at EUR -359m / Earnings outlook for the year unchanged
In the traditionally weak first quarter, Deutsche Lufthansa AG recorded an operating result on a par with last year at EUR -359m. The operating result includes restructuring costs of EUR 64m from the SCORE programme. Earnings improvements in the operating segments helped the Group make up for the extra costs. The net result for the period fell by 16.5 per cent to EUR -459m due to impairment losses and other valuations as of the reporting date. At EUR 6.6bn, revenue for the Lufthansa Group in the first quarter remained stable.
“We took another step towards our target of sustainable earnings improvements in the first quarter. Nearly all the Group companies improved their result,” explained Simone Menne, Member of the Executive Board, responsible for Finances and Aviation Services at Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “We are firmly on course with our SCORE programme.”
In operational terms, the Group improved its result by a total of EUR 95m in the Passenger Airline Group, Logistics, MRO, Catering and IT Services segments. Lufthansa German Airlines achieved the greatest improvement in the operating result, with an increase of EUR 77m. Thanks to a notable reduction in the number of flights and its optimised capacity management, the company boosted the load factor of its aircraft in the first quarter to 75.5 per cent and at the same time increased its yields. The strike by Lufthansa ground staff on 21 March depressed the operating result for Lufthansa German Airlines, as did high fuel costs and the long winter, which also weighed on the other airlines in the Lufthansa Group.
At the end of the first quarter 2013, Lufthansa German Airlines reported an operating loss of EUR 292m. At SWISS, the operating result came to EUR -16m, compared with EUR -3m in the same quarter last year. Austrian Airlines improved its operating result by EUR 11m to EUR -56m. Overall, the operating loss for the Passenger Airline Group segment improved to EUR -363m.
The Lufthansa Group also improved its operating result in the Logistics segment. Lufthansa Cargo increased its operating profit, in part thanks to targeted capacity management and lower depreciation and amortisation. At the end of the first quarter, the figure for the segment was EUR 27m, a rise of EUR 7m. The operating profit for the MRO segment was up by EUR 16m to EUR 81m. Lufthansa Technik adopted some 200 individual measures as part of SCORE in the first quarter, which by 2015 are intended to improve the organisation of administrative functions and align them better with customer needs. LSG SkyChefs improved its operating result by EUR 9m, posting an operating profit of EUR 3m for the period January to March. In the IT Services segment, Lufthansa Systems earned an operating profit of EUR 3m, compared with EUR 4m in the same quarter last year.
Given the improvement of the operating results for the Group companies in the first quarter, the positive contributions by SCORE and stable demand in the passenger business, the Group confirmed its earnings outlook for the year 2013. The operating profit for the Lufthansa Group in 2013 is predicted to be higher than the EUR 524m achieved last year. Positive earnings contributions from SCORE should not obscure the need for further change, however, emphasised Simone Menne, adding, “In competition with well-funded competitors, especially from the Middle East and Far East, and with low-cost airlines in Europe, we need new structures that will allow us to generate higher profits again. Putting the agreed measures into practice remains a challenge. We nevertheless intend to pursue our chosen path and shape our future with the required perseverance.”
The first quarter of 2013 in figures
Revenue for the Lufthansa Group in the first quarter of 2013 came to EUR 6.6bn - an increase of 0.1 per cent on the previous year. Traffic revenue declined by 0.2 per cent to EUR 5.3bn. Overall, the Group's operating income went up to EUR 7.2bn in the reporting period, an increase of 0.3 per cent.
Operating expenses rose by 1.7 per cent in the first quarter to EUR 7.7bn. Fuel costs climbed by EUR 36m to EUR 1.7bn. This represents an increase of 2.2 per cent. Included in this amount is a negative contribution of EUR 25m from fuel hedging. Fees and charges fell by 2.2 per cent on the previous year, due to a lower number of flights.
In the first quarter, the Lufthansa Group reported an operating result on a par with the previous year of EUR -359m. To facilitate comparison, the operating result for the same quarter last year was adjusted by EUR 22m following the amendments to accounting standard IAS 19. Following this adjustment, the result for the first quarter of 2012 also came to EUR -359m.
The net result for the period was down by 16.5 per cent to EUR -459m. Expenses for severance pay and compensation as part of the SCORE job cuts depressed the Group's result for the first quarter, as did impairment losses and valuation effects. Earnings per share sank to EUR -1.00.
Lufthansa invested EUR 718m in the reporting period. Of this sum, EUR 657m went on modernising and maintaining the fleet. Cash flow from operating activities came to EUR 976m and free cash flow (cash flow from operating activities less net capital expenditure) to EUR 463m. For the first quarter, the Group had net debt of EUR 1.7bn. Following the application of new accounting standards (IAS 19), the equity ratio is now 15.4 per cent.
of which traffic revenue
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Employees as of 31.3.
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*) Operating result plus write-backs of provisions, divided by revenue
**) Previous year's figures have been adjusted in line with changes to IAS 19
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