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Finnair Group financial statement bulletin 1 January–31 December 2016

Comparable full-year operating result more than doubled year on year; positive in Q4

October–December 2016

  • Revenue increased by 0.4% year-on-year to 569.9 million euros (567.7)*. Excluding the sold travel agencies, revenue growth was 1.2%
  • Available seat kilometres (ASK) grew by 3.5%.
  • Comparable operating result was 1.6 million euros (0.8).
  • Operating result was 18.2 million euros (85.0). The items affecting comparability were mainly related to foreign exchange gains.
  • Comparable EBITDAR was 59.4 million euros (59.5).
  • Net cash flow from operating activities totalled 30.5 million euros (7.1), and net cash flow from investing activities amounted to -264.7 million euros (-7.8).**
  • Unit revenue (RASK) decreased by 3.0% year-on-year.***
  • Unit cost (CASK) decreased by 3.2% and unit cost at constant currency excluding fuel decreased by 1.6% year-on-year.
  • Ancillary and retail revenue per passenger grew by 10.3% year-on-year to 12.2 euros.
  • Earnings per share were 0.08 euros (0.44).

January–December 2016

  • Revenue increased by 2.8% year-on-year to 2,316.8 million euros (2,254.5) with 6.5% ASK growth. Excluding the sold travel agencies, revenue growth was 3.2%.
  • Comparable operating result was 55.2 million euros (23.7).
  • Operating result was 116.2 million euros (121.7) including the sales gain on one Airbus A350 widebody aircraft (two were sold and leased back in 2015).
  • Comparable EBITDAR was 270.4 million euros (231.2).
  • Net cash flow from operating activities stood at 219.7 million euros (171.0), and net cash flow from investing activities totalled -499.6 million euros (78.6).**
  • Unit revenue (RASK) decreased by 3.5% year-on-year.***
  • Unit cost (CASK) decreased by 4.8% and unit cost excluding fuel at constant currency increased by 0.3% year-on-year.
  • Ancillary and retail revenue per passenger grew by 15.2% year-on-year to 11.6 euros.
  • Earnings per share were 0.55 euros (0.57).
  • Outlook: Finnair estimates that, in 2017, its capacity will grow 8–10 per cent, weighted towards the second half of 2017. Revenue is expected to grow more slowly than capacity, reflecting both the increasing capacity in the markets and on the other hand Finnair's efforts to grow the ancillary sales.
  • The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of [0.10] euros per share be distributed for 2016.

* Unless otherwise stated, figures in parentheses refer to the comparison period, i.e. the same period last year.
** Net cash flow from investing activities includes 168 million euro investments in money market funds and other financial assets maturing after more than three months. These investments are part of the Group’s liquidity management
*** 2015 revenue includes sales from divested subsidiaries; Estravel was sold in December 2015 and SMT in October 2016.

CEO Pekka Vauramo

As a whole, 2016 was a year of growth for Finnair. We successfully launched several new destinations, including Fukuoka and Guangzhou, and added frequencies to key routes. We took delivery of four Airbus A350 widebody aircraft and carried half a million more passengers than a year earlier. Considerable progress was made for example in the digitalisation of our technical processes. Due to the growth, we have also recruited and trained considerable numbers of new personnel, mainly pilots and cabin crew, as previously anticipated. We are building a culture of growth.

In the last quarter, our comparable result was approximately 2 million euros positive, exceeding last year’s result by one million euros; hence, we achieved our ninth consecutive quarterly result improvement. The front-loaded training and other expenses resulting from the accelerated growth programme amounted to over 20 million euros in 2016. During the last quarter, we had over 100 pilots tied up in trainings.

Considering the seasonality of our business and the headwinds we faced towards the end of the year, we can be fairly content with our result. Due to delays in some of the A350 deliveries, the training schedule of our pilots for the new aircraft type was interrupted, which forced us to wetlease additional capacity during the quarter in order to ensure the least amount of inconvenience to our customers. This caused additional expenses during the quarter. In addition, we were forced to cancel some flights towards the end of the year.

Finnair’s revenue divided by the capacity, or RASK, showed more resilience than that of some of our peers. Ancillary sales continued healthy growth, and our plan to deploy more tourist capacity to Lapland was a success. As an example, Ivalo and Rovaniemi combined are currently the largest destination for our Chinese passengers.

We have specified a target to boost our revenues by 500 million euros by the end of 2019. Ancillary sales, with new revenues streams, will play a key role in achieving this target. We are also expecting the new cargo hub to be completed in 2017, which will enable increased revenue, particularly by providing better facilities for premium services for specialty goods.

This year will be an important leap of growth for us. There will be a tangible increase in capacity, four new A350s and active recruitments. At the same time, we are taking serious efforts to develop the customer experience and the internal people experience. I believe this will lay a solid foundation to launch into the year.

Outlook

The demand outlook for passenger and cargo traffic in Finnair’s main markets continues to involve uncertainty. Finnair estimates that, in 2017, due to the fleet renewal and introduction of new aircraft, its capacity will grow 8–10 per cent, weighted strongly towards the second half of 2017. Revenue is expected to grow more slowly than our capacity, reflecting increasing capacity in the relevant markets.

In keeping with its disclosure policy, Finnair will issue guidance for its expected full-year operational result in connection with the half-year report in July.

Business environment

Traffic continued to grow in Finnair’s main markets in the fourth quarter of 2016. Measured in available seat kilometres, scheduled market capacity between Helsinki and Finnair’s European destinations grew by 3.1 per cent year-on-year, while direct market capacity between Finnair’s Asian and European destinations grew by 2.4 per cent year-on-year. Finnair’s market share increased in European traffic and decreased slightly to 5.6 per cent (5.7) in Asian traffic.*

The strong growth in market capacity weighed on long-haul load factors and unit revenue. Long-haul market capacity development was uneven, as China-Europe market capacity grew strongly while growth between Japan and Europe was negative. Leisure travel from Asia to certain European destinations still suffered from security concerns, while traffic to Nordic destinations was robust. Finland in general and Lapland in particular grew strongly as a destination towards the end of the year.

There continued to be overcapacity between Europe and North America towards the end of the year. Due to the challenging market environment, the Atlantic Joint Business was exposed to declining average yields and load factors. At the same time, the Siberian Joint Business continued to strengthen its market share in the last quarter. There was strong demand particularly in Europe, while demand in Japan was compressed by a decrease in the number of group travellers. The total market volume between Europe and Japan declined further.

The supply of packaged travel by tour operators active in Finland was mostly in balance with the demand. Tour operators increased their capacity in the Canary Islands and Thailand, and some price pressure emerged in these markets as a result. The unfavourable timing, from the consumers’ perspective, of holidays around Christmas weighed on demand at the end of the year. The cargo market continued to be burdened by overcapacity, but the downward trajectory seems to have levelled off towards the end of the year and even bottomed out in certain areas.

The declining trend in the price of jet fuel that began in autumn 2014 ended in the first quarter and has since turned upwards. The dollar price of jet fuel was 10.6 per cent higher in the fourth quarter than in the comparison period. The US Dollar, the most significant expense currency after the euro, appreciated by 1.5 per cent against the euro year-on-year and is at a significantly stronger level than in 2014. In regards to key income currencies, the Japanese yen, which has been appreciating since autumn 2015, turned weaker in the fourth quarter. However the Japanese yen was still 12.7 per cent stronger against the euro than in the comparison period. The Chinese yuan depreciated by 5.0 per cent year-on-year. Finnair hedges its fuel purchases and key foreign currency items; hence, market fluctuations are not reflected one-for-one in its result.

* Finnair’s estimate. The basis for calculation is Finnair-operated cities. Calculation method adjusted after the previous period.