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Chorus Aviation announces third quarter 2020 financial results

Recent Highlights

  • Net income of $20.5 million, or $0.13 per basic share; a period-over-period decrease of $3.7 million due to the impact of COVID-19 on its results, offset by a change in unrealized foreign exchange of $24.9 million.
  • Adjusted net income1 of $10.9 million, or $0.07 per basic share; a decrease of $18.2 million quarter-over-quarter due to the impact of COVID-19 noted above.
  • Adjusted EBITDA1 of $85.9 million; a decrease of $6.8 million over third quarter 2019 primarily due to the impact of COVID-19 on financial results.
  • Liquidity of approximately $218.0 million, an increase of approximately $30.0 million over second quarter 2020.
  • Collected approximately 50.0% of lease revenue billed in the third quarter, excluding repossessed aircraft, a 22-percentage point improvement over second quarter 2020.
  • Delivered third of five new Airbus A220-300 aircraft to air Baltic of Latvia.
  • Increased flying under the capacity purchase agreement ('CPA') to approximately 23%* in the third quarter from 10% in the second quarter of 2020.

*These percentages are relative to 2019

HALIFAX, NS, Nov. 10, 2020 /CNW/ - Chorus Aviation Inc. ('Chorus') (TSX: CHR) today announced third quarter 2020 financial results and an update on the impact of COVID-19.

"In the quarter, we bolstered our liquidity position to $218 million and have collected approximately 50% of the lease revenue billed in this period," said Joe Randell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chorus. "While we were modestly encouraged by the increases in flying by our lessees and our Air Canada Express operation, this fall has seen the further proliferation of the COVID-19 virus worldwide and a corresponding stalling in the resumption of flying activities.  Unfortunately, the duration and the permanent effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown. We are mindful that a prolonged pandemic will continue to challenge the passenger aviation industry."

"Demand for air service will only return when people have confidence that their health and safety are protected, and when the requirement for quarantine is reduced or eliminated. In Canada, we need a national COVID-19 testing regime that uses scientifically based procedures to help facilitate the safe movement of passengers. This will allow an improved application of any quarantine restrictions.  While the pilot programs underway in Calgary and Toronto to safely test an alternative to the two-week quarantine for international travelers are positive steps, more such projects across the country are needed, especially with the Atlantic Bubble.  We urge government to act swiftly to implement current, science-based approaches to COVID-19 testing of passengers to help support the recovery of passenger demand."

"In addition to feeling safe, passengers need affordable regional transportation.  In Canada, the multiple layers of fees and surcharges levied on passengers and airlines by various levels of government have greatly increased over the years and have had a disproportionate negative impact on regional services.  Since the pandemic, Nav Canada has increased fees by 30% and many airport authorities across Canada have followed suit – adding to higher ticket prices for travelers.  In the short term, the Government of Canada needs to urgently consider assisting these service providers in the rollback of fees to help encourage travel demand, thereby helping the economy recover."

"I continue to be amazed by the resiliency of our employees and their determination to deliver the best and safest possible service to our customers. I extend my sincerest thanks to our team.  We are doing all within our power to preserve what we have and to prepare for whenever this crisis abates. We are encouraged by the public statements made by the Honourable Marc Garneau, Canada's Minister of Transport on November 8, 2020 to begin immediate discussions with airlines on measures to protect Canadians from the impacts of COVID-19 on the air travel sector in Canada and are awaiting further details," concluded Joe Randell.

Third Quarter Summary

In the third quarter of 2020, Chorus reported adjusted EBITDA of $85.9 million, a decrease of $6.8 million over the third quarter of 2019.

The Regional Aircraft Leasing segment's adjusted EBITDA decreased by $4.0 million primarily due to a $4.1 million expected credit loss provision related to management's assessment of its lessee credit risk, and lower lease margins due to the loss of revenue resulting from the repossession of aircraft from Flybe, CityJet and Virgin Australia; partially offset by growth in aircraft earning leasing revenue.

The Regional Aviation Services segment's adjusted EBITDA decreased by $2.8 million. The third quarter results were impacted by:

  • a decrease in capitalization of major maintenance overhauls on owned aircraft operated under the CPA of $2.7 million over the previous period; and
  • a reduction in other revenue due to a decrease in third-party MRO activity and reduced contract flying resulting from the economic impact of COVID-19; partially offset by
  • a decrease in stock-based compensation of $1.7 million due to the change in the Share price inclusive of the change in fair value of the Total Return Swap;
  • an increase in aircraft leasing under the CPA primarily related to additional revenue earned from five incremental Dash 8-300s and three incremental CRJ900s in 2020 versus 2019; and
  • a decrease in general administrative expenses.

Adjusted net income was $10.9 million for the quarter, a decrease of $18.2 million due to:

  • a $6.8 million decrease in adjusted EBITDA as previously described;
  • an increase in depreciation of $4.5 million primarily related to additional aircraft in the Regional Aircraft Leasing segment;
  • an increase in net interest costs of $7.6 million primarily related to the 5.75% Unsecured Debentures, the unsecured revolving credit facility and additional aircraft debt in the Regional Aircraft Leasing segment; and
  • an increase of $3.0 million in realized foreign exchange and unrealized foreign exchange losses on working capital; offset by
  • a $3.0 million decrease in adjusted income tax expense resulting from a reduction in EBT and a change in permanent tax differences of $4.4 million offset by tax recovery on adjusted items of $1.5 million; and
  • a reduction in loss on the disposal of property and equipment of $0.6 million over the prior quarter.

Net income decreased $3.7 million due to the previously noted decrease in adjusted net income of $18.2 million, general impairment provisions of $11.2 million and lease repossession costs of $0.7 million; offset by the change in net unrealized foreign exchange on long-term debt of $24.9 million and tax recovery on adjusted items of $1.5 million.

Year-to-date Summary

Chorus reported adjusted EBITDA of $265.5 million for 2020, an increase of $12.4 million over 2019.

The Regional Aircraft Leasing segment's adjusted EBITDA increased by $20.7 million which was primarily due to the growth in aircraft earning leasing revenue partially offset by a $5.2 million expected credit loss provision related to management's assessment of its lessees' credit risk, and lower lease margins due to the loss of revenue resulting from the repossession of aircraft from Flybe, CityJet and Virgin Australia.

The Regional Aviation Services segment's adjusted EBITDA decreased by $8.3 million. The 2020 results were impacted by:

  • a reduction in other revenue due to a decrease in third-party MRO activity, lower part sales and reduced contract flying resulting from the economic impact of COVID-19;
  • a decrease in capitalization of major maintenance overhauls on owned aircraft operated under the CPA of $4.0 million over the previous period; and
  • expected credit loss and inventory provisions of $1.3 million in Voyageur; partially offset by
  • a decrease in stock-based compensation of $6.8 million due to the change in the Share price inclusive of the change in fair value of the Total Return Swap;
  • an increase in aircraft leasing under the CPA primarily related to additional revenue earned from five incremental Dash 8-300s and three incremental CRJ900s in 2020 versus 2019; and
  • a decrease in general administrative expenses.

Adjusted net income was $56.4 million year-to-date, a decrease over 2019 of $15.3 million due to:

  • an increase in depreciation of $16.2 million primarily related to additional aircraft in the Regional Aircraft Leasing segment;
  • an increase in net interest costs of $15.2 million primarily related to additional aircraft debt in the Regional Aircraft Leasing segment, the 5.75% Unsecured Debentures and the unsecured revolving credit facility;
  • an increase of $1.2 million due to a loss of $0.6 million versus a gain of $0.6 million on disposal of property and equipment; and
  • an increase of $0.9 million in realized foreign exchange and unrealized foreign exchange losses on working capital; partially offset by
  • a $12.4 million increase in adjusted EBITDA as previously described; and
  • a decrease in adjusted income tax expense of $5.9 million resulting from a reduction in EBT and a change in permanent tax differences of $10.3 million offset by tax recovery on adjusted items of $4.4 million.

Net income decreased $64.3 million over 2019 due to the previously noted decrease of $15.3 million in adjusted net income, $26.6 million on impairment provisions, the change in net unrealized foreign exchange on long-term debt of $23.9 million, $2.7 million on lease repossession costs net of security packages realized , and increased employee separation program costs of $2.1 million; offset by tax recovery on adjusted items of $4.4 million and decreased signing bonuses of $2.0 million under the Jazz pilot collective agreement.

Consolidated Financial Analysis




(unaudited)  

(expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)

Three months ended September 30,

Nine months ended September 30,

2020

2019

Change

Change

2020

2019

Change

Change

$

$

$

%

$

$

$

%










Operating revenue

196,438

351,454

(155,016)

(44.1)

738,676

1,027,841

(289,165)

(28.1)

Operating expenses

161,049

292,904

(131,855)

(45.0)

622,912

878,811

(255,899)

(29.1)










Operating income

35,389

58,550

(23,161)

(39.6)

115,764

149,030

(33,266)

(22.3)

Net interest expense

(25,706)

(18,098)

(7,608)

(42.0)

(67,281)

(52,038)

(15,243)

(29.3)

Foreign exchange gain (loss)

14,824

(7,114)

21,938

308.4

(6,141)

18,712

(24,853)

132.8

(Loss) gain on property and equipment

(202)

(849)

647

(76.2)

(576)

617

(1,193)

(193.4)










Earnings before income tax

24,305

32,489

(8,184)

(25.2)

41,766

116,321

(74,555)

(64.1)

Income tax expense

(3,847)

(8,294)

4,447

53.6

(9,437)

(19,738)

10,301

52.2










Net income

20,458

24,195

(3,737)

(15.4)

32,329

96,583

(64,254)

(66.5)










Adjusted EBITDA(1)

85,859

92,639

(6,780)

(7.3)

265,482

253,083

12,399

4.9

Adjusted EBT(1)

16,264

37,471

(21,207)

(56.6)

71,417

92,617

(21,200)

(22.9)

Adjusted net income(1)

10,908

29,154

(18,246)

(62.6)

56,374

71,711

(15,337)

(21.4)

(1)

These are non-GAAP financial measures.

Outlook
(See cautionary statement regarding forward-looking information below)

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting government restrictions have created unprecedented challenges for the passenger aviation industry around the world. Even though Chorus' business model does not directly expose it to the market risks ordinarily faced by airlines, substantially all its source revenue is derived from airline customers, through its CPA and its leasing of aircraft to airline customers globally. The full extent of the duration and therefore the impact of this pandemic are unknown.

Regional Aviation Services:

Jazz has reduced its furloughed employees from 65% to 45% of its workforce since the end of second quarter 2020 associated with increased operating capacity. Contingent upon qualification, Jazz plans to utilize the CEWS for the remainder of the program, which has been extended into the summer of 2021.

Jazz expects to operate between approximately 20% to 30% of its capacity in the fourth quarter of 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same prior year periods. In accordance with the CPA, the Fixed Margin does not vary with the number of aircraft and is fixed for 2020 based on agreed annual amounts.

As of September 30, 2020, the Controllable Cost Guardrail receivable from Air Canada was $17.7 million. Chorus expects the receivable to be between $35.0 and $45.0 million by the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.

Chorus purchased and started earning leasing revenue on three CRJ900s delivered under the CPA at the end of June 2020. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Chorus deferred the delivery of the remaining six CRJ900s until the fourth quarter of 2020. In addition, in the third quarter Chorus funded the final equity investment for the six CRJ900s scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2020 and all remaining payments for these aircraft are expected to be funded by secured financing.

Voyageur continues to perform overseas humanitarian flights and cargo services, and the air ambulance operation in New Brunswick. Voyageur's contract flying, charter sales and MRO services revenue all improved over the second quarter of 2020 and is expected to be sustained throughout the fourth quarter. Parts sales operations experienced lower demand during the quarter due to the impact of COVID-19. Contingent upon qualification, Voyageur plans to utilize the CEWS for the remainder of the program to June 2021. Voyageur currently represents less than 10% of Chorus' consolidated revenue and net income.

Regional Aircraft Leasing:

Chorus has received requests from substantially all its Regional Aircraft Leasing segment customers for some form of temporary rent relief, as they cope with an unprecedented reduction in demand for passenger air travel. The period of relief most commonly spans three to 12 months with repayment terms, typically, of approximately two years; however, to the extent that travel restrictions persist, Chorus Aviation Capital ('CAC') may continue to receive requests for deferral extensions from some of its most impacted customers.

As of September 30, 2020, CAC's gross lease deferral receivable was US $35.9 million. These deferrals are estimated to increase Chorus' trade receivables and long-term lease deferral receivables to approximately US $41.0 million by the end of the year. CAC's gross deferral receivable exposure is partially mitigated by security packages held of approximately US $20.0 million.

Chorus collected approximately 50.0% of lease revenue billed in the third quarter from its lessees, excluding repossessed aircraft, a 22-percentage point improvement over second quarter 2020. Consistent with market norms, these leases are generally for a fixed term, contain an absolute payment obligation on the part of the lessee, and cannot be terminated early for convenience.

In July 2020, Chorus extended a loan deferral program with its largest lender that allows Chorus to defer scheduled payments under certain aircraft loans to the end of 2020 so long as the lease rent under the corresponding leases is deferred. Repayment of the deferrals is required over the course of the subsequent 12 months. The balance deferred as of September 30, 2020 was US $20.4 million and the total amount that could be deferred by December 31, 2020 is estimated to be US $30.6 million.

Following voluntary administration on April 20, 2020, Virgin Australia terminated its lease agreements with CAC in early September for three ATR72-600s. The estimated financial impact of this termination (net of CAC's security package) was included in Chorus' general impairment and lease repossession provisions in the second quarter of 2020. CAC has repossessed the aircraft and under the related loan agreements has 24 months to remarket these aircraft, failing which CAC may be required to repay the debt outstanding on the aircraft. The average remaining lease terms for these aircraft was four years. As at September 30, 2020, CAC's long-term debt related to these aircraft was US $28.5 million.

In the third quarter, CAC repossessed two CRJ900s previously on lease to CityJet pursuant to a negotiated termination agreement. CAC has not recorded an impairment charge on these aircraft due to the realization of its security package. The average remaining lease terms for these aircraft was eight years. As at September 30, 2020, CAC's long-term debt related to these aircraft was US $29.6 million. Under the related loan agreements, CAC has 24 months from the date of the lease termination to remarket the aircraft, failing which CAC may be required to repay the debt outstanding on the aircraft.

Aeromexico filed for voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States on June 30, 2020 in order to implement a financial restructuring. CAC leases three E190s to Aeromexico which currently remain under lease. The average remaining lease terms for these aircraft is 2.2 years and CAC holds security packages under the leases. CAC will have six months to remarket two of the aircraft and nine months for the other aircraft if the aircraft leases are repudiated, failing which Chorus may be required to repay the debt outstanding on the aircraft. As at September 30, 2020, CAC's long-term debt related to these aircraft was US $34.9 million.

Flybe ceased operating and was placed in administration on March 5, 2020. CAC had three ATR72-600s and five Dash 8-400s on lease to Flybe with remaining lease terms between two and four years. The remarketing periods for the three ATR72-600s and two of the five Dash 8-400s are 24 months and 10 months, respectively. As at September 30, 2020, Chorus' long-term debt associated with these aircraft was US $35.7 million and US $10.4 million for three ATR72-600s and two Dash 8-400s, respectively. Three of these Dash 8-400s are unencumbered.

Prior to the third quarter 2020, Chorus generated approximately US $7.1 million per quarter in lease revenue from aircraft leased to Flybe, CityJet, Virgin Australia and Aeromexico.

The following table provides the number of closed and pending and/or delayed transactions (1) announced to date:









(unaudited)

Completed Transactions

Pending/Delayed
Transactions(1)

Committed Transactions

Customer

2016 - 
Q2 2020

Q3 2020

Total

Q4 2020

Q1 2021 and
thereafter

2016 - 
Q2  2020

 Increase
(Decrease)

Total 2016 - 
2020(2)










Aeromexico(3)

3


3



3


3

Air Nostrum

4


4



4


4

airBaltic

2

1

3

2


5


5

Azul Airlines

5


5



5


5

CityJet(4)

2

(2)



2

(2)

Croatia Airlines

2


2



2


2

Ethiopian Airlines

5


5



5


5

Indigo

8


8



8


8

Jambojet

3


3



3


3

KLM Cityhopper

1


1



1


1

Malindo Air

4


4



4


4

Philippine Airlines

3


3



3


3

SpiceJet

5


5



5


5

Virgin Australia(5)

3

(3)



3

(3)

Wings Air

1


1



1


1

Undisclosed customer



2

2


2

Aircraft to be remarketed

8

5

13



8

5

13

Total Regional Aircraft Leasing 

59

1

60

2

2

64

64










Total Regional Aviation Services(6)

56

1

57

6

8

71

71










Chorus Total Aircraft

115

2

117

8

10

135

135










(1)

All pending acquisitions and lease commitments are subject to satisfaction of customary conditions precedent to closing including receipt of financing for the aircraft.

(2)

Total announced transactions as of November 10, 2020.

(3)

On June 30, 2020, Aeromexico filed for voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States in order to implement a financial restructuring. The aircraft currently remain in Aeromexico's operation, however, there can be no assurance that CAC's aircraft will be retained by Aeromexico.

(4)

On April 17, 2020, CityJet entered an examinership process in Ireland. Pursuant to the negotiated termination agreement, CAC has repossessed the two CRJ900s previously on lease to CityJet and plans to remarket them. 

(5)

Virgin Australia entered into voluntary administration on April 20, 2020 and terminated its lease agreements for three ATR72-600s. CAC has repossessed the aircraft and plans to remarket them.

(6)

The Regional Aviation Services segment's commitments include the following pending transactions:  At September 30, 2020, there were six CRJ900s, three Dash 8-300s that will undergo the ESP planned for between 2020 - 2022, and five 75-78 seat aircraft, all of which are intended to earn leasing revenue under the CPA. Between September 30, 2020 and November 10, 2020, Chorus received two of the six pending CRJ900s. 

Capital expenditures in 2020, including capitalized major maintenance overhauls but excluding expenditures for the acquisition of aircraft and the ESP, are expected to be between $17.0 million and $23.0 million. Aircraft related acquisitions and ESP capital expenditures in 2020 are expected to be between $417.0 million and $426.0 million.1






(unaudited)
(expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)


Actual


Nine months ended

Year ended

Planned 2020(1)

September 30, 2020

December 31, 2019

$

$

$

Capital expenditures, excluding aircraft acquisitions and ESP

10,000 to 13,000

9,887

31,547

Capitalized major maintenance overhauls

7,000 to 10,000

6,038

14,444

Aircraft related acquisitions and ESP

417,000 to 426,000

161,403

829,710


434,000 to 449,000

177,328

875,701

(1)

The 2020 plan includes two ESPs and nine CRJ900s in the Regional Aviation Services segment as well as three A220-300s for the Regional Aircraft Leasing segment all of which have been converted using a foreign exchange rate of $1.3339, the September 30, 2020 closing day rate from the Bank of Canada. It excludes any potential additional investments in third-party aircraft, beyond these already committed. All pending acquisitions and lease commitments are subject to satisfaction of customary conditions precedent to closing.

Further, capitalized terms used but not defined in the Outlook section have the meanings given to them in the MD&A which is available on Chorus' website (www.chorusaviation.com) and SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

Investor Conference Call / Audio Webcast

Chorus will hold an analyst call at 8:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 to discuss the third quarter 2020 financial results. The call may be accessed by dialing 1-888-231-8191. The call will be simultaneously audio webcast via:
https://produceredition.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1380506&tp_key=9371884315

This is a listen-in only audio webcast.

The conference call webcast will be archived on Chorus' website at www.chorusaviation.com under Investors > Reports > Executive Management Presentations.  A playback of the call can also be accessed until midnight ET, November 18, 2020 by dialing toll-free 1-855-859-2056, and using passcode 4590019#

1NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

This news release references several non-GAAP financial measures to supplement the analysis of Chorus' results.  Chorus uses certain non-GAAP financial measures, described below, to evaluate and assess performance. These non-GAAP measures are generally numerical measures of a company's financial performance, financial position or cash flows, that include or exclude amounts from the most comparable GAAP measure. As such, these measures are not recognized for financial statement presentation under GAAP, do not have a standardized meaning, and are therefore not likely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other public entities.

Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EBT and Adjusted EBITDA

Due to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the global airline industry, Chorus revised its definition of Adjusted net income in the second quarter of 2020 to include impairment provisions and lease repossession costs net of security packages recovered and the applicable tax expense (recovery) caused by the pandemic to facilitate transparency and comparability of its results.

Adjusted net income and Adjusted net income per Share are used by Chorus to assess performance without the effects of unrealized foreign exchange gains or losses on long-term debt and lease liability related to aircraft, signing bonuses, employee separation program costs, impairment provisions, lease repossession costs net of security packages recovered, strategic advisory fees and the applicable tax expense (recovery). Chorus manages its exposure to currency risk on such long-term debt by billing the lease payments within the CPA in the underlying currency (US dollars) related to the aircraft debt. These items are excluded because they affect the comparability of Chorus' financial results, period-over-period, and could potentially distort the analysis of trends in business performance. Excluding these items does not imply they are non-recurring due to ongoing currency fluctuations between the Canadian and US dollar.

Due to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the global airline industry, Chorus revised its definition of Adjusted EBT and Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter of 2020 to include impairment provisions and lease repossession costs net of security packages recovered to facilitate transparency and comparability of its results. Adjusted EBT and EBITDA should not be used as an exclusive measure of cash flow because it does not account for the impact of working capital growth, capital expenditures, debt repayments and other sources and uses of cash, which are disclosed in the statements of cash flows, forming part of Chorus' financial statements.

EBT is defined as earnings before income tax. Adjusted EBT (EBT before signing bonuses, employee separation program costs, impairment provisions, lease repossession costs net of security packages recovered, strategic advisory fees and other items such as foreign exchange gains and losses) is a non-GAAP financial measure used by Chorus as a supplemental financial measure of operational performance. Management believes Adjusted EBT assists investors in comparing Chorus' performance by excluding items, which it does not believe will reoccur over the longer-term (such as signing bonuses, employee separation program costs, impairment provisions, lease repossession costs net of security packages recovered and strategic advisory fees) as well as items that are non-cash in nature such as foreign exchange gains and losses.

EBITDA is defined as earnings before net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation, amortization and impairment and is a non-GAAP financial measure that is used frequently by companies in the aviation industry as a measure of performance. Adjusted EBITDA (EBITDA before signing bonuses, employee separation program costs, strategic advisory fees, impairment provisions, lease repossession costs net of security packages recovered net of security packages recovered and other items such as foreign exchange gains or losses) is a non-GAAP financial measure used by Chorus as a supplemental financial measure of operational performance. Management believes Adjusted EBITDA assists investors in comparing Chorus' performance by excluding items, which it does not believe will re-occur over the longer-term (such as signing bonuses, employee separation program costs, impairment provisions, lease repossession costs net of security packages recovered and strategic advisory fees) as well as items that are non-cash in nature such as foreign exchange gains and losses. Adjusted EBITDA should not be used as an exclusive measure of cash flow because it does not account for the impact of working capital growth, capital expenditures, debt repayments and other sources and uses of cash, which are disclosed in the statements of cash flows, forming part of Chorus' financial statements.

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