American Airlines Beats Estimates and Calls Merger 'Very Positive'

FORT WORTH, Texas.(TheStreet) -- American Airlines (AAL) beat Wall Street estimates in its first quarterly earnings report following a December merger with US Airways. CEO Doug Parker said "the early returns on our merger are very positive."

Excluding various merger-related items, the carrier reported a net profit of $436 million, or 59 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 55 cents. Revenue rose 8.7% to $10 billion.

In the same period a year earlier, excluding items, the combined carriers lost $42 million.

Including items, new American reported a GAAP loss of $2 billion, including $2.4 billion in net special charges. In the same period a year earlier, the combined companies reported a net profit of $262 million. The GAAP results include US Airways only for the 23-day period from Dec. 8, 2013, when the merger was completed, through Dec. 31, 2013.

"The early returns on our merger are very positive," said CEO Doug Parker, in a prepared statement. "Our teams are working well together and our customers are already beginning to see the benefits of our combined network. We have much work ahead, but believe we are on our way to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world. These financial results are evidence of the strong foundation we have in place and we anticipate improving upon these results as we further integrate our operations in 2014."

For full-year 2013 excluding items, the company's combined net profit was $1.9 billion on a non-GAAP basis, compared with a combined profit of $407 million in 2012. The full-year GAAP loss was $1.8 billion, which includes $3.1 billion of net special charges, compared with a full-year 2012 loss of $1.9 billion, which includes $1.7 billion of net special charges.

During the quarter, combined consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile rose 5% to 13.64 cents, driven by a 5.3% increase in yield. Capacity rose 3.4% from the same period a year earlier.

On the cost side, combined cost per available seat mile excluding fuel and special charges and profit sharing was flat at 8.49 cents.

For the full year 2013, combined mainline CASM excluding fuel and special items fell 3.1% to $8.37 cents.

As of Dec. 31, 2013, American had $10.3 billion in total cash and investments, of which $1 billion was restricted.

Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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Follow @tedreednc

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