United Continental Holdings (UAL)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 27, 2011 10:30 am ET


Jeffery A. Smisek - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Finance Committee

James E. Compton - Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President

Zane Rowe - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Tyler Reddian - Managing Director of Investor Relations

Irene E. Foxhall - Executive Vice President of Communications & Government Affairs


William J. Greene - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Kevin Crissey - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Hunter K. Keay - Wolfe Trahan & Co.

Garrett L. Chase - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Mary Jane Credeur - Bloomberg News

Duane Pfennigwerth - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

Michael Linenberg - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Joshua Freed - The Associated Press

Jamie N. Baker - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Glenn D. Engel - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Jeffrey A. Kauffman - Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., Research Division



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Good morning, and welcome to the United Continental Holdings Earnings Conference Call for the Third Quarter of 2011. My name is Michelle, and I will be your operator for today's call. [Operator Instructions]

This call is being recorded and is copyrighted. Please note that no portion of this call may be recorded, transcribed or rebroadcast without the company's permission. Your participation implies your consent to our recording of this call. If you do not agree with these terms, simply drop off the line.

I would now like to turn the presentation over to your hosts today, Ms. Nene Foxhall and Mr. Tyler Reddian. Please go ahead.

Irene E. Foxhall

Thank you, Michelle. Good morning and welcome to the United Continental Holdings third quarter 2011 earnings conference call. Joining us here in Chicago to discuss our results are President and CEO, Jeff Smisek; Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton; Executive Vice President and CFO, Zane Rowe; and Senior Vice President Finance and Treasurer, Gerry Laderman.

Jeff will begin with some overview comments after which, Jim will review capacity and revenue results. Zane will follow with the discussion of our cost structure and the balance sheet. Jeff will make a few closing remarks, and then we will open the call for questions, first from analysts, and then from the media. We would appreciate it if you would limit yourself to 1 question and 1 follow-up. With that, I'll turn it over to Tyler.

Tyler Reddian

Thank you, Nene. Our earnings release and separate investor update were issued this morning and are available on our website at ir.unitedcontinentalholdings.com.

Let me point out that information in this morning's earnings press release and investor update and the remarks made during this conference call may contain forward-looking statements, which represent the company's current expectations or beliefs concerning future events and financial performance.

All forward-looking statements are based upon information currently available to the company. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from our current expectations.

Please refer to our press release, Form 10-K and other reports filed with the SEC by United Continental Holdings, United Airlines and Continental Airlines for a more thorough description of these factors.

Also during the course of the call, we will be discussing several non-GAAP financial measures. For a reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to GAAP measures, please refer to the tables at the end of our earnings release, a copy which is available on our website.

As with last quarter, we will present our third quarter 2011 result on a combined basis for United Continental Holdings. All prior period results discussed today, including comparisons against prior periods, will be based on unaudited pro forma results for the combined company and include estimates of the impact of the purchase accounting.

For additional details, please refer to our investor updates issued during 2011 and the fourth quarter of 2010, which are also available on our website. Unless otherwise noted, as we walk you through the numbers for the quarter, we will be excluding special items, merger-related expenses and/or fuel hedged noncash net market-to-market gains and losses. These items are detailed in our earnings release.

And now, I'd like to turn the call over to Jeff Smisek, President and CEO of United.

Jeffery A. Smisek

Thanks, Tyler and Nene, and good morning and thank you all for joining us. Today, we reported a net income of $773 million for the third quarter or $2 per diluted share, delivering a 7.7% pretax margin for the quarter. We closed the margin between United and Continental Airlines a little over a year ago. We are working together to build the world's leading airline, the airline that our customers want to fly, our co-workers want to work for and investors want to invest in.

I'd like to thank all of my coworkers for their hard work over the past year maintaining their focus on delivering clean, safe and reliable air transportation to our customers, while we integrate these 2 great airlines.

Despite the challenges of integration, we delivered solid operation and financial performance during the quarter. We accrued an additional $152 million of profit-sharing during the quarter for a total of $242 million accrued for profit sharing year-to-date.

In addition, during the first 9 months of 2011, we paid $27 million in on-time performance bonuses to coworkers. I look forward to distributing profit-sharing payments on Valentine's Day next year based on our 2011 full year earnings.

We improved our balance sheet again this quarter, reducing total debt, including capitalized aircraft operating lease obligations by $469 million. We remained focused on derisking the business and improving the strength of our balance sheet.

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