Copa Holdings SA Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Copa Holdings SA (CPA)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 09, 2012 11:00 am ET

Executives

Joseph Putaturo

Pedro Heilbron - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Victor Vial - Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Michael Linenberg - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Duane Pfennigwerth - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

Eduardo Siffert Couto - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

James D. Parker - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Hunter K. Keay - Wolfe Trahan & Co.

Helane R. Becker - Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC, Research Division

Alexandre van Amson - Santander, Equity Research

Stephen Trent - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Welcome to the Copa Holdings Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this call is being webcast and recorded August 9, 2012. Now, I will turn the conference call over to Joe Putaturo, Director of Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.

Joseph Putaturo

Thank you very much, operator, and welcome, everyone to our second quarter earnings call. Joining us today are Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Holdings; and Victor Vial, our Chief Financial Officer.

First, Pedro will start with our second quarter highlights followed by Victor, who will discuss our financial results. Immediately after, we'll open up the call for questions from analysts.

Copa Holdings second quarter financial results have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards. In today's call, we will discuss non-IFRS financial measures. A reconciliation of the non-IFRS to IFRS financial measures can be found in our first quarter earnings release, which has been posted on the company's website, copaair.com.

In addition, our discussion will contain forward-looking statements not limited to historical facts that reflect the company's current beliefs, expectations and/or intentions regarding future events and results. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and are based on assumptions that are subject to change. Many of these risks and uncertainties are discussed in our annual report filed with the SEC.

Now, I'd like to turn the call over to our CEO, Pedro Heilbron.

Pedro Heilbron

Thank you, Joe. Good morning to all and thank you for participating in our second quarter earnings call. Last night, we reported our second quarter results and as always, I want to congratulate our team for another quarter of solid operational and financial results. Looking at our main second quarter highlight, consolidated capacity for the quarter grew almost 25%. Our operating revenues and passenger traffic increased more than 20%, led by our international traffic, which expanded a very strong 25% during what is seasonally our weakest quarter.

We saw slight year-over-year decrease in unit revenues as a result of lower load factors, which was partly offset by an increase in yields. This, along with an increase in our effective cost of jet fuel, led to an operating margin of 14%, which maintains our position among the most profitable airlines in the industry. During the quarter, we took delivery of 5 737-800 aircraft and returned 2 of our 737-700 leases to end the quarter with 80 aircraft.

In June, we continued our network expansion by adding 4 new destinations: Las Vegas, which is now our seventh city in the U.S., Recife, also our seventh city in Brazil; Liberia, serving the province of Guanacaste, our second destination in Costa Rica; and Curacao, our 15th Caribbean destination. More recently on July 14, we launched service to Iquitos, our second destination in Peru. With these new cities, our network now covers 64 destinations in 29 countries. By far, the most complete network for intra-Latin America travel.

In addition to launching these new destinations, we continued increasing daily frequencies in important markets. For instance in June, we increased Lima, Medellin and Miami from 4x to 5x daily service. Cancun increased to 4x daily and Guayaquil, Quito, San Juan and Cartagena went from 2 to 3 daily flights.

We also increased the daily service, several recently launched markets such as Asuncion, Brasília, Porto Alegre and Santa Cruz. Another important highlight for the quarter was our formal entry into the Star Alliance. Our team is proud and excited to be part of the largest and most prestigious global airline network. This strategic step will enhance our network's global reach while assuring world-class passenger service through access to the alliance's benefits. At the same time, corporate earnings integration into Star will bolster the alliance's presence in Latin America, one of the fastest growing aviation markets. I want to take this opportunity to again thank all of those who have contributed to this successful integration.

Looking forward, we expect good results in our seasonally stronger second half of the year as we continue to see a healthy revenue environment with good trends in book load factors and average shares across most of the network. As a result, for Q3 and Q4, we expect RASM improvement over this quarter, which along with a lower fuel cost forecast, should allow us to deliver our operating margin guidance for the year.

Despite some global economic uncertainty, Latin American economies with few exceptions are healthy and growing. On top of that, Panama's economy is doing very well. For the first quarter, we grew about 9% and it's expected to grow at similar levels for the full-year, supported by large capital investment projects including the expansion of the Panama Canal and the construction of a metro system.

These and other infrastructure outreach, as well as considerable private investment, are part of the wider plans to further develop Panama into the leading business and logistics hub in the region. Furthermore, the government has already started planning the next expansion of the Tocumen airport, which will involve an investment of between $350 million and $400 million and the addition of 20 mortgaged in its first phase. This expansion, which will be financed mainly through the concession of new Duty Free retail space, will ensure that our hub has the necessary infrastructure to accommodate our future needs.

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