Fifteen More Boeing 767-300 Freighter Leases Since March 2020, including Five in 1Q 2021

WILMINGTON, Ohio–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATSG), the leading provider of medium wide-body aircraft leasing, contracted air transportation and related services, today reported consolidated financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.

ATSG’s first quarter 2021 results, as compared with the first quarter of 2020 include:

  • Customer revenues down $13.2 million to $376.1 million.

    First-quarter ACMI Services revenues were down $37.0 million due primarily to reduced operations for passenger and combi services, including fewer special charter operations, versus the early stages of the pandemic last year. Aircraft leasing revenues from external customers for the quarter increased $14.1 million from fifteen new leases of Boeing 767-300 freighters since March 2020, including five in the first quarter this year.
  • GAAP Earnings from Continuing Operations were $42.3 million, or $0.71 per share basic, versus $133.7 million, or $2.27 per share basic.

    The unrealized effect of the quarterly re-measurement of the values of financial instruments, including warrants, increased ATSG’s first-quarter after-tax earnings by $7.3 million and $108.1 million for 2021 and 2020, respectively. Warrant gains stemmed primarily from a decrease in the traded value of ATSG shares during the quarter. Government grants intended to mitigate pandemic effects on ATSG’s passenger airline operations added $21.6 million, or $0.29 per share, to ATSG’s first-quarter 2021 net income.
  • Adjusted Earnings from Continuing Operations (non-GAAP) decreased $14.1 million to $15.2 million. Adjusted Earnings Per Share (non-GAAP) were $0.19 diluted, down $0.21.

    Adjusted Earnings from Continuing Operations and Adjusted EPS exclude $21.6 million of government grants recognized in 2021 and other elements from GAAP results that differ distinctly in predictability among periods or are not closely related to operations. Adjusted EPS for both periods are based on share counts that reflect Amazon’s decision in March 2021 to exercise a portion of its ATSG warrants.
  • Adjusted EBITDA from Continuing Operations (non-GAAP) decreased $18.4 million to $105.6 million, excluding the recognition of government grants.

    Reduced contributions from ATSG’s airlines, due to reductions in passenger flying and increased operating expenses as a result of the pandemic, as well as ramp-up expenses to support customers’ expanding air networks, offset higher contributions from ATSG’s aircraft leasing operations. Adjusted EBITDA plus government grants recognized during the quarter increased $9.6 million compared to the previous year. Government grants from federal payroll support programs have been an essential factor for retaining employees at ATSG’s passenger airline and partially offsetting employee costs as revenues from passenger services declined.

Adjusted Earnings per Share, Adjusted Earnings from Continuing Operations and Adjusted EBITDA from Continuing Operations are non-GAAP financial measures and are defined in the non-GAAP reconciliation tables at the end of this release.

  • Capital spending was $125.4 million, down $18.1 million.

    First-quarter spending included $84.7 million for the acquisition of four Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft for freighter conversion, and modification costs for others. Spending for required heavy maintenance, and for other equipment including aircraft engines and components, increased $2.6 million compared to a year ago.

Rich Corrado, president and chief executive officer of ATSG, said, “Leased cargo aircraft deliveries remained on a record pace in the first quarter, including four of the eleven additional Boeing 767s we will lease to and fly for Amazon this year. We also received word last week that the FAA has awarded a Supplemental Type Certificate for freighter conversion of Airbus A321-200 passenger aircraft under our joint venture with Precision. In March, we were pleased to learn that Amazon intends to express its continued confidence in ATSG by choosing to exercise ATSG warrants it holds to acquire 19.5 percent of our common shares, including a cash equity investment of $132 million that we expect to be completed this week. However, the incremental passenger flying we were awarded to move personnel in the early stages of the pandemic last year has not continued into 2021, and our ongoing combi and passenger flying assignments remain down. We continue to receive federal pandemic relief funds allocated to U.S. passenger airlines, which allows us to retain employees who support those operations. We anticipate an improving trend for our airline businesses, especially in the second half.”

Segment Results

Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM)

CAM

 

First Quarter

($ in thousands)

 

2021

 

2020

Aircraft leasing and related revenues

 

88,229

 

 

 

78,609

 

 

Lease incentive amortization

 

(4,952

)

 

 

(4,446

)

 

Total CAM revenues

 

83,277

 

 

 

74,163

 

 

Depreciation expense

 

46,995

 

 

 

43,047

 

 

Allocated interest expense

 

9,226

 

 

 

10,255

 

 

Segment earnings, pretax

 

21,462

 

 

 

15,820

 

 

Significant Developments:

  • CAM’s first quarter revenues, net of warrant-related lease incentives, increased 12 percent versus the prior year. Revenues increased primarily from fifteen more external leases of 767-300 freighters at the end of the quarter versus a year ago. CAM’s revenues from external customers increased 30 percent for the quarter versus the same prior-year period.
  • ATSG’s total fleet consisted of 104 aircraft in service at the end of the quarter, eight more than a year ago. Eighty-five were cargo aircraft, four were combis and fifteen were passenger aircraft. CAM owned 98 of ATSG’s in-service aircraft. Four passenger 767s were leased to Omni Air by third parties and two 767 freighters were subleased from a customer.
  • Seventy-five CAM-owned 767s were under lease to third parties at the end of the quarter, thirteen more than a year ago and two more than at the end of 2020. Four 767 freighters, three 767-200s and one 767-300, were being staged for re-lease. CAM expects to complete long-term leases for at least sixteen 767-300 freighters to third party customers during 2021, and at least ten more in 2022.
  • Nine 767 aircraft were in or awaiting conversion to freighters at the end of March 2021, down three from a year earlier. CAM purchased four 767 passenger aircraft for freighter modification during the quarter, to be completed and deployed in 2021 or 2022. CAM also removed one 767 passenger aircraft from Omni Air’s fleet for conversion and redeployment as a freighter.
  • CAM’s pretax segment earnings for the quarter were $21.5 million, up 36 percent from 2020’s first quarter. Depreciation expense increased $3.9 million and allocated interest decreased $1.0 million.

ACMI Services

ACMI Services

 

First Quarter

($ in thousands)

 

2021

 

2020

Revenues

 

247,131

 

 

284,165

 

Allocated interest expense

 

4,523

 

 

5,301

 

Segment earnings, inclusive of government grants, pretax

 

21,259

 

 

18,378

 

Significant Developments:

  • Revenues for ACMI Services decreased 13 percent from the prior-year period, stemming primarily from a reduction in charter passenger operations for commercial customers of Omni Air, reduced Boeing 757 combi operations for the military, and the 2020 retirement of four Boeing 757 freighters we had operated for DHL. Revenues for ATSG’s air cargo operations increased overall.
  • Total block hours decreased five percent for the quarter to approximately 38,000 hours, compared with the prior-year period. Block hours for total passenger and combi operations were down 42 percent due to the pandemic. Block hours for air cargo operations, principally for express-network customers, increased 10 percent. ATSG expects continuing growth in express-network flying in 2021, as it expects to be flying forty-six 767s for Amazon by the end of the year, 13 more than at the end of 2020.
  • Pretax segment earnings for the first quarter increased 16 percent to $21.3 million, including the benefit of $28 million in government grants recognized in the quarter, which ATSG excludes from its non-GAAP adjusted earnings and EBITDA. The 2021 first quarter also included the impact of higher labor costs, including the effect of a December 2020 amendment to the collective bargaining agreement between ABX Air and its pilots.
  • In addition to pandemic-related restrictions at certain destinations, ATSG now expects its combi operations for the U.S. military to be impacted through 2021 by runway maintenance at one of the remote military bases it serves. The ACMI Services segment will continue to bear the costs of pilot recruitment and training for the flight crews that support its expanding CMI operations.
  • Omni Air, ATSG’s passenger airline, was granted $43 million during the first quarter of 2021 for pandemic relief from a federal payroll support program (PSP). It expects to receive an additional $40 million of payroll support program funds during this year, the benefit of which would be amortized through the end of 2021. Under conditions of the PSP agreements, ATSG may not pay dividends or repurchase its shares through September 30, 2022.

Other Activities

Other

 

First Quarter

($ in thousands)

 

2021

 

2020

Total Revenues

 

$

93,698

 

 

$

80,036

 

 

Revenues from external customers

 

68,162

 

 

58,380

 

 

Pretax Earnings (Loss)

 

389

 

 

53

 

 

Significant Developments:

  • External revenues from other activities were up $9.8 million from a year ago, reflecting an increase in lower-margin ground services including parcel sorting operations and facility maintenance and fuel sales. Revenues for certain higher-margin aircraft maintenance services for external customers were down.

$200 Million Unsecured Debt Issuance

In April, ATSG completed an add-on private offering of $200 million in aggregate principal amount of 4.750% senior notes due 2028. The new notes, which are in addition to $500 million in such notes that ATSG issued in January 2020, were issued at an offering price of 102.750 percent face amount, resulting in an equivalent yield of 3.96 percent. Proceeds from the offering will be used to reduce the revolving credit commitments under ATSG’s Third Amended and Restated Credit Agreement. The offering will expand ATSG’s borrowing capacity by replacing secured with unsecured debt.

Outlook

ATSG continues to expect its Adjusted EBITDA for 2021 to be at least $525 million, or six percent more than 2020 Adjusted EBITDA of $497 million. The 2021 forecast is based on the lease of at least sixteen more 767-300 freighter aircraft, and CMI flight operations for at least thirteen more 767 freighters in 2021.

Rich Corrado noted that “Wall Street’s strong response to the $200 million in additional capital we raised last month, together with Amazon’s strong expression of support via its warrant exercises, are testaments to the outstanding family of businesses we have assembled and their ability to deliver both great service and superior long-term performance. Our leasing business remains exceptionally strong, and is driving our cash-flow returns. Customer demand for our converted 767 freighters is driven by the growth in e-commerce shipping and shows no sign of abating. We now expect to lease at least ten more Boeing 767-300 freighter aircraft in 2022, and multiple customers are expressing interest in signing multi -unit freighter orders with us starting as late as 2025.

On the other hand, our passenger charter and combi operations are recovering at a slower pace than we had expected a few months ago, and margins for our airlines remain below our targets. We remain hopeful for a strong rebound in passenger operations late this year.”

ATSG’s Adjusted EBITDA guidance for 2021 includes the costs of maintaining Omni Air’s staffing levels, rates of pay, and benefits as required under its PSP agreements. But Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Pretax Earnings and Adjusted EPS exclude $83 million in federal pandemic relief grants Omni Air expects to receive in 2021. ATSG’s 2021 outlook also assumes extended costs for incremental measures to protect the health and safety of its employees, who continue to deliver superior customer service during the pandemic.

ATSG’s capital expenditures are still projected to be approximately $500 million in 2021, driven by costs to acquire, convert and lease more 767 freighters.

ATSG now expects Amazon to complete the conversion of 14.9 million warrants for the purchase of ATSG common shares under both cashless and cash exercises through May 7, 2021. The exercises will result in Amazon paying ATSG $132 million for the purchase of 13.6 million ATSG shares, and together with the cashless exercise of other vested warrants will result in Amazon owning 19.5 percent of ATSG’s outstanding common shares. Amazon still holds warrants for the purchase of an additional 21.8 million ATSG shares under other agreements.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This release, including the attached tables, contains non-GAAP financial measures that management uses to evaluate historical results and project future results. Management believes that these non-GAAP measures assist in highlighting operational trends, facilitate period-over-period comparisons, and provide additional clarity about events and trends affecting core operating performance. Disclosing these non-GAAP measures provides insight to investors about additional metrics that management uses to evaluate past performance and prospects for future performance. Non-GAAP measures are not a substitute for GAAP. The historical non-GAAP financial measures included in this release are reconciled to GAAP earnings in tables included later in this release. The Company does not provide a reconciliation of projected Adjusted EBITDA because it is unable to predict with reasonable accuracy the value of certain adjustments. Certain adjustments can be significantly impacted by the re-measurements of financial instruments including stock warrants issued to a customer. The Company’s earnings on a GAAP basis and the non-GAAP adjustments for gains and losses resulting from the re-measurement of stock warrants, will depend on the future prices of ATSG stock, interest rates, and other assumptions which are highly uncertain.

Conference Call

ATSG will host an investor conference call on May 6, 2021, at 10 a.m. Eastern time to review its financial results for the first quarter of 2021. Participants should dial (800) 708-4540 and international participants should dial (847) 619-6397 ten minutes before the scheduled start of the call and ask for conference passcode 50155298. The call will also be webcast live (in listen-only mode) via a link at www.atsginc.com using the same passcode. The conference call also will be available on webcast replay via www.atsginc.com for 30 days.

About ATSG

ATSG is a leading provider of aircraft leasing and air cargo transportation and related services to domestic and foreign air carriers and other companies that outsource their air cargo lift requirements. ATSG, through its leasing and airline subsidiaries, is the world’s largest owner and operator of converted Boeing 767 freighter aircraft. Through its principal subsidiaries, including three airlines with separate and distinct U.S. FAA Part 121 Air Carrier certificates, ATSG provides aircraft leasing, air cargo lift, passenger ACMI and charter services, aircraft maintenance services and airport ground services. ATSG’s subsidiaries include ABX Air, Inc.; Airborne Global Solutions, Inc.; Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services, Inc., including its subsidiary, Pemco World Air Services, Inc.; Air Transport International, Inc.; Cargo Aircraft Management, Inc.; and Omni Air International, LLC. For more information, please see www.atsginc.com.

Except for historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this release contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. A number of important factors could cause Air Transport Services Group’s (ATSG’s) actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, (i) the following, which relate to the current COVID-19 pandemic and related economic downturn: the pandemic may continue for a longer period, or its impact on commercial and military passenger flying, may be more substantial than what we currently expect; disruptions to our workforce and staffing capability or in our ability to access airports and maintenance facilities; the impact on our customers’ creditworthiness; the continuing ability of our vendors and third party service providers to maintain customary service levels; and the expected timing and benefits arising from government grants; and (ii) other factors that could impact the market demand for our assets and services, including our operating airlines’ ability to maintain on-time service and control costs; the cost and timing with respect to which we are able to purchase and modify aircraft to a cargo configuration; fluctuations in ATSG’s traded share price and in interest rates, which may result in mark-to-market charges on certain financial instruments; the number, timing and scheduled routes of our aircraft deployments to customers; our ability to remain in compliance with key agreements with customers, lenders and government agencies; changes in general economic and/or industry specific conditions; and other factors that are contained from time to time in ATSG’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Readers should carefully review this release and should not place undue reliance on ATSG’s forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements were based on information, plans and estimates as of the date of this release. Except as may be required by applicable law, ATSG undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect changes in underlying assumptions or factors, new information, future events or other changes.

 

AIR TRANSPORT SERVICES GROUP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS

(In thousands, except per share data)

 

 

Three Months Ended

 

March 31,

 

2021

 

2020

REVENUES

$

376,088

 

 

 

$

389,277

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPERATING EXPENSES

 

 

 

Salaries, wages and benefits

142,016

 

 

 

125,531

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

71,051

 

 

 

69,342

 

 

Maintenance, materials and repairs

42,007

 

 

 

41,677

 

 

Fuel

30,442

 

 

 

43,799

 

 

Contracted ground and aviation services

14,803

 

 

 

14,349

 

 

Travel

18,404

 

 

 

21,657

 

 

Landing and ramp

3,109

 

 

 

2,745

 

 

Rent

5,868

 

 

 

3,486

 

 

Insurance

3,136

 

 

 

1,668

 

 

Other operating expenses

16,423

 

 

 

15,216

 

 

Government grants

(28,030

)

 

 

 

 

 

319,229

 

 

 

339,470

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPERATING INCOME

56,859

 

 

 

49,807

 

 

OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)

 

 

 

Interest income

19

 

 

 

112

 

 

Non-service component of retiree benefit credits (costs)

4,457

 

 

 

2,898

 

 

Net gain on financial instruments

9,472

 

 

 

107,044

 

 

Loss from non-consolidated affiliates

(1,183

)

 

 

(2,764

)

 

Interest expense

(14,522

)

 

 

(16,323

)

 

 

(1,757

)

 

 

90,967

 

 

 

 

 

 

EARNINGS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS BEFORE INCOME TAXES

55,102

 

 

 

140,774

 

 

INCOME TAX EXPENSE

(12,812

)

 

 

(7,041

)

 

 

 

 

 

EARNINGS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS

42,290

 

 

 

133,733

 

 

 

 

 

 

EARNINGS FROM DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS, NET OF TAX

 

 

 

3,772

 

 

NET EARNINGS

$

42,290

 

 

 

$

137,505

 

 

 

 

 

 

EARNINGS PER SHARE – CONTINUING OPERATIONS

 

 

 

Basic

$

0.71

 

 

 

$

2.27

 

 

Diluted

$

0.49

 

 

 

$

0.84

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEIGHTED AVERAGE SHARES – CONTINUING OPERATIONS

 

 

 

Basic

59,447

 

 

 

59,040

 

 

Diluted

74,744

 

 

 

67,947

 

 

AIR TRANSPORT SERVICES GROUP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(In thousands, except share data)

 

 

March 31,

 

December 31,

 

2021

 

2020

ASSETS

 

 

 

CURRENT ASSETS:

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

$

51,659

 

 

 

$

39,719

 

 

Accounts receivable, net of allowance of $1,005 in 2021 and $997 in 2020

155,115

 

 

 

153,511

 

 

Inventory

43,051

 

 

 

40,410

 

 

Prepaid supplies and other

35,352

 

 

 

39,096

 

 

TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS

285,177

 

 

 

272,736

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property and equipment, net

1,987,082

 

 

 

1,939,776

 

 

Customer incentive

120,308

 

 

 

126,007

 

 

Goodwill and acquired intangibles

513,646

 

 

 

516,290

 

 

Operating lease assets

63,946

 

 

 

68,824

 

 

Other assets

77,554

 

 

 

78,112

 

 

TOTAL ASSETS

$

3,047,713

 

 

 

$

3,001,745

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

 

 

CURRENT LIABILITIES:

 

 

 

Accounts payable

$

146,112

 

 

 

$

141,425

 

 

Accrued salaries, wages and benefits

46,157

 

 

 

56,506

 

 

Accrued expenses

17,505

 

 

 

19,005

 

 

Current portion of debt obligations

619

 

 

 

13,746

 

 

Current portion of lease obligations

16,781

 

 

 

17,784

 

 

Unearned revenue and grants

50,458

 

 

 

53,522

 

 

TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES

277,632

 

 

 

301,988

 

 

Long term debt

1,497,211

 

 

 

1,465,331

 

 

Stock warrant obligations

96,536

 

 

 

103,474

 

 

Post-retirement obligations

30,057

 

 

 

35,099

 

 

Long term lease obligations

47,317

 

 

 

51,128

 

 

Other liabilities

44,970

 

 

 

47,963

 

 

Deferred income taxes

154,252

 

 

 

141,265

 

 

 

 

 

 

STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY:

 

 

 

Preferred stock, 20,000,000 shares authorized, including 75,000 Series A Junior Participating Preferred Stock

 

 

 

 

 

Common stock, par value $0.01 per share; 150,000,000 shares authorized; 60,641,436 and 59,560,036 shares issued and outstanding in 2021 and 2020, respectively

606

 

 

 

596

 

 

Additional paid-in capital

856,090

 

 

 

855,547

 

 

Retained earnings

120,300

 

 

 

78,010

 

 

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

(77,258

)

 

 

(78,656

)

 

TOTAL STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

899,738

 

 

 

855,497

 

 

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

$

3,047,713

 

 

 

$

3,001,745

 

 

AIR TRANSPORT SERVICES GROUP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

PRETAX EARNINGS AND ADJUSTED PRETAX EARNINGS SUMMARY

FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS

NON-GAAP RECONCILIATION

(In thousands)

 

 

Three Months Ended

 

March 31,

 

2021

 

2020

Revenues

 

 

 

CAM

 

 

 

Aircraft leasing and related revenues

$

88,229

 

 

 

$

78,609

 

 

Lease incentive amortization

(4,952

)

 

 

(4,446

)

 

Total CAM

83,277

 

 

 

74,163

 

 

ACMI Services

247,131

 

 

 

284,165

 

 

Other Activities

93,698

 

 

 

80,036

 

 

Total Revenues

424,106

 

 

 

438,364

 

 

Eliminate internal revenues

(48,018

)

 

 

(49,087

)

 

Customer Revenues

$

376,088

 

 

 

$

389,277

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretax Earnings (Loss) from Continuing Operations

 

 

CAM, inclusive of interest expense

21,462

 

 

 

15,820

 

 

ACMI Services, inclusive of government grants and interest expense

21,259

 

 

 

18,378

 

 

Other Activities

389

 

 

 

53

 

 

Net, unallocated interest expense

(754

)

 

 

(655

)

 

Non-service components of retiree benefit credit (costs)

4,457

 

 

 

2,898

 

 

Net gain on financial instruments

9,472

 

 

 

107,044

 

 

Loss from non-consolidated affiliates

(1,183

)

 

 

(2,764

)

 

Earnings from Continuing Operations before Income Taxes (GAAP)

$

55,102

 

 

 

$

140,774

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjustments to Pretax Earnings

 

 

Add customer incentive amortization

5,699

 

 

 

4,857

 

 

Less government grants

(28,030

)

 

 

 

 

Add non-service components of retiree benefit (credits) costs

(4,457

)

 

 

(2,898

)

 

Less net gain on financial instruments

(9,472

)

 

 

(107,044

)

 

Add loss from non-consolidated affiliates

1,183

 

 

 

2,764

 

 

Adjusted Pretax Earnings (non-GAAP)

$

20,025

 

 

 

$

38,453

 

 

 

Adjusted Pretax Earnings excludes certain items included in GAAP based pretax earnings (loss) from continuing operations because they are distinctly different in their predictability among periods or not closely related to our operations.

Contacts

Quint Turner, ATSG Inc. Chief Financial Officer

937-366-2303

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