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COPA HOLDINGS continues to fly higher.

NYSE:CPA   COPA HOLDINGS SA
EARNINGS CALL HIGHLIGHTS
Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us. Let me begin by joining Pedro in congratulating our entire team for all their astounding achievements during the quarter. Due to the grounding of the MAX fleet, our capacity for the second quarter was 4.3% lower year-over-year, while revenue passenger miles decreased only 2.5%, which resulted in a consolidated load factor of 85.1%, a 1.6 percentage point increase versus Q2 2018. Passenger yields showed a recovery and came in 4.1% higher year-over-year, which combined with a strong load factor resulted in a unit revenue increase of 6.3% from $0.098 in Q2 2018 to $0.105 in Q2 2019. Consolidated revenues increased 1.7% to $645 million.

On the expense side, our second quarter operating expenses decreased 2% year-over-year on the 4.3% capacity reduction, which resulted in our cost per available seat mile increasing 2.5% to $0.091. For the quarter, our effective all-in fuel price averaged $2.22 per gallon, a decrease of 5.3% versus the $2.35 per gallon that we averaged in Q2 2018. The cost per available seat mile excluding fuel and ex-fuel CASM increased 5.7% from $0.059 in Q2 2018 to $0.062 in Q2 2019, mainly due to the costs associated with the grounding of the MAX fleet, including the resulting lower capacity output as well as the timing of certain expenses.

Operating earnings for the quarter came in 36.7% higher at $82.6 million, resulting in an operating margin of 12.8%, 3.3 percentage points higher than Q2 2018. Looking at nonoperating income and expense, the second quarter generated a net nonoperating expense of $11.9 million, mainly driven by a net interest expense of $7.5 million and a $2.2 million translational foreign currency loss related mostly to the Argentinian and Colombian currencies. Our tax expense for the quarter also came in higher at $19.9 million, related to a timing of certain tax payments in Panama. For the full year, we expect our effective tax rate to be in the range of 13%.

In terms of net results, net earnings for the quarter came in at $50.9 million or earnings per share of $1.20, 2.1% higher than the earnings per share reported in Q2 2018. I will now turn to the balance sheet . We closed the second quarter with a very strong financial position. Assets totaled $4.5 billion, owners' equity totaled $1.9 billion, our debt plus our lease liability totaled approximately $1.6 billion and our lease liability adjusted net debt-to-EBITDA ratio came in at 1.1x, one of the strongest in the industry. Keep in mind that we are now adjusting the net debt by including the lease liability line from our balance sheet .

We closed the quarter with approximately $1.2 billion in debt more than 60% of which is fixed with a blended rate, including fixed and floating rate debt of approximately 3.1%. In regards to cash, short- and long-term investments, we closed the quarter with close to $900 million. During the quarter, our free cash flow generation was close to $140 million and our cash balance at the end of the quarter represents approximately 34% of last 12 months' revenues. In terms of fleet, we ended the quarter with 104 aircraft, 68 737-800s, 14 737-700s, 16 Embraer-190s and 6 MAX 9s. We had originally planned for 7 additional MAX aircraft to be delivered during 2019. Once the MAX grounding is lifted, we will be able to determine the revised delivery stream for these aircraft.

Finally, I'm pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has ratified the third quarterly dividend of $0.65 per share to be paid on September 13 to all shareholders on record as of August 30. So going back to our results and to recap, we delivered solid financial results for the second quarter. We expect demand for air travel in our region to continue improving during the second half of the year. Despite the grounding of the MAX fleet, we're still delivering competitive unit cost, which we expect to continue improving once the MAX grounding is lifted. We have one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry, and we continue to return value to our shareholders. Today, we're also updating our guidance for 2019. Please keep in mind that our guidance makes certain assumptions regarding the impact of the grounding of the MAX fleet, including an assumed return to service of the six aircraft currently in our fleet in the middle part of December. Any changes in these assumptions could influence the guidance for the year.


COMPANY PROFILE
Copa Holdings SA engages in provision of air transportation. It involves in an airline operation which provides passenger and cargo services through the Copa Airlines and Copa Colombia principal operating subsidiaries. The company offers international flights to Costa Rica, Jamaica, Colombia and other cities. Copa Holdings was founded in 1947 and is headquartered in Panama.
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