SAS Group Interim Report January-March 2011

Dépèche transmise le 10 mai 2011 par Business Wire



Key ratios January-March 2011

· Revenue: MSEK 9,217 (9,495)

· Income before nonrecurring items in continuing operations: MSEK -505 (-844)

· EBT margin before nonrecurring items in continuing operations: -5.5% (-8.9%)

· Cash flow from operating activities: MSEK -567 (30)

· Income before tax: MSEK -554 (-972) · Net income for the period: MSEK -373 (-712)

· Earnings per share: SEK -1.13 (-3.64)

Important events during the quarter

· Rickard Gustafson took office as President and CEO on February 1, 2011

· Göran Jansson took office as Deputy President and CFO on March 1, 2011

· The Swedish government extended its agreement for travel with SAS

· The events in Japan in 2011 are estimated to have a total negative impact of approximately MSEK 100 for full-year 2011

· SAS launched the Oslo- New York route to meet demand from the Norwegian market

· SAS decided to harmonize its aircraft fleet to a uniform fleet of Boeing 737 NGs (New Generation) in Stockholm and Oslo, and the Airbus 320 series in Copenhagen

· SAS issued a bond loan of about SEK 2 billion as part of a planned loan refinancing process

Comments by the CEO ”Despite overcapacity in the market – improved earnings driven by cost savings”

It is now more than three months since I took over as President and CEO of SAS. The first quarter of 2011 was a quarter dominated by continued economic recovery and the favorable economic trend is expected to continue in 2011, particularly in the SAS Group’s home market. Growth is expected to be strongest in Sweden and Norway, but lower in the euro countries.

Despite record-high jet fuel prices, several players in the Nordic region have in recent months increased capacity beyond the estimated market growth and capacity in the home market is now expected to increase by about 10% in 2011. Overcapacity remains in certain markets, particularly on European routes from Denmark and in the Swedish market. In total, the market is expected to grow about 6% in 2011 and SAS plans to increase capacity to the corresponding level during the year.

For the SAS Group, growth was favorable in the second half of 2010, but the pace slowed somewhat during the first quarter of 2011. Traffic growth is expected to become higher in the first half of 2011, particularly on the US routes, but also on domestic and intra-Scandinavian routes. We are now capturing market shares in the key Norwegian domestic market. There are also favorable prospects for continued growth in the second half of 2011.

The trend is uncertain for both yield and jet fuel prices. The rising jet fuel prices may have a positive impact on yield from the spring of 2011, but will have a negative effect on the cost base in an amount of SEK 1 billion for full-year 2011 if the high price level for jet fuel is sustained. We are managing the jet fuel price by hedging jet fuel, introduction of a jet fuel surcharge and active yield management. With expanding capacity in the market, it is an increasingly major challenge to secure the full effect of these initiatives.

Improved earnings Seasonally, the first quarter is always the weakest for SAS and the outcome was negative MSEK 505, but this was considerably better than the same quarter in 2010. The improvement on 2010 was MSEK 339 and was mainly attributable to cost reductions from Core SAS. In February 2011, we assessed that, given continued recovery in the home market, as described above, and that no unexpected events occur, there are good prospects for the SAS Group to achieve positive income before tax for full-year 2011. The strong fuel price increases in recent times make this expectation considerably more challenging. The status of bookings in the months to come looks relatively positive and provided that the jet fuel surcharge offsets the increased jet fuel prices to a large degree in the second half of 2011, the conditions remain for the SAS Group to achieve positive income before tax for full-year 2011.

Stable financial position It is also satisfying to be able to state that our financial position is stable. This is exemplified by the new bond loan that was issued in March 2011. At the end of March, our financial preparedness was SEK 11.9 billion, which is satisfactory and provides us, for example, with the scope to implement fleet renewal, which we have now begun. SAS has a remaining exposure in Spanair. In the event of Spanair going bankrupt, SAS’s total exposure is SEK 1.8 billion, but with a limited negative liquidity effect of MSEK 200-300. If such an event were to occur, this means that we would still meet our financial preparedness target with a good margin.

Focus areas in 2011 We are now in the process of formulating the strategy to succeed Core SAS. The goal is to create conditions for profitable growth, establish a good climate for cooperation and further strengthen leadership. Perhaps most importantly – we will also develop our customer focus. To date, I have held meetings with more than 2,000 employees and also held discussions with more than 200 leaders. On the customer side, it is pleasing to see that our customer satisfaction continues to improve, while we are delivering punctuality of world class. In 2011, new technology will be introduced, such as NFC (Near Field Communication) and onboard Internet will be launched to further optimize the efficiency of trips with SAS. EuroBonus is a key part of our customer offering and it is particularly positive that EuroBonus recently won an award under the auspices of the Frequent Traveller Award. We have also decided to commence renewal of the aircraft fleet by harmonizing the fleet at the three bases, with Stockholm and Oslo becoming Boeing 737NG bases and Copenhagen the Airbus base. This gives us more environmentally sound and fuel-efficient aircraft at the same time as it provides us a total saving of MSEK 200-300 up to 2015.

Core SAS will be completed according to plan in 2011 and continues to contribute to strengthening SAS’s competitiveness. The remaining earnings effect of the Core SAS savings program is expected to be SEK 0.9 billion in 2011. Restructuring costs are expected to decline to MSEK 400-600 in 2011. During the year, we will also work on further cost improvements to its regular operations.

Core SAS is now in its final phase and we are working on our future approach.

Rickard Gustafson President & CEO

SAS discloses this information pursuant to the Swedish Securities Market Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instruments Trading Act. The information was provided for publication on May 10, 2011, at 8:00 a.m.

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Business Wire

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