Delta Air misses fourth-quarter expectations, sees unit revenue decline
Delta, the United States partner of Air France-KLM, expects the Paris attacks to hurt unit revenue in the first quarter by 0.5 percentage points, its President Ed Bastian said.
The metric is expected to decline between 2.5% and 4.5% during the 2016 first quarter. That could add to investor concern that airlines are adding too many flights while fuel is relatively cheap, which is pushing fares lower.
The airline said that in the quarter just ended, it lost US$336 million from settled hedges, financial instruments that protected against rising oil prices but required a payout when prices fell.
Net earnings for the quarter came in at $926 million, missing analysts’ estimates of $929.13 million.
For now, there’s little reason to expect fuel prices to climb. The company earned $1.18 per share on revenue of $9.502 billion. Those losses are expected to ease in 2016, though the airline, which is the operator of an oil refinery, said it expects its earlier fuel hedges will produce $100 million to $200 million losses each quarter through this year.
Delta CEO Richard Anderson in a written statement called the company’s 2015 performance “a record for Delta on all fronts”. Fuel costs for the full year decreased 44 percent, contributing to a 14 percent decline in total operating expense during 2015.
The company repurchased 48 million shares of stock during 2015 at an average price of $45.50 per share.
Net profit was $980 million during the final three months of 2015, also a reverse of a net loss during the same period in 2014.
Separately, recently, TheStreet Ratings rated this stock as a “buy” with a ratings score of A. Despite the company’s drop in revenue, Delta managed to outperform against the industry average of 5.3%. EQIS Capital Management increased its position in shares of Delta Air Lines by 74.4% in the fourth quarter. Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Alaska Air Group (ALK) are reporting later this week.