What started as a difficult year with accounting questions is turning into a stellar year for U.K.-based Air Partner, helped by its U.S. jet card business
Yesterday, Air Partner plc released a trading update for the six months ended 31 July 2018. It is in advance of a detailed report that will be provided with the interim results, which will be released on 27 September 2018. The Group enters its close period on 28 August 2018. The report is a positive viewpoint, following a recent buy rating, and particularly considering the difficult news over accounting woes from earlier this year. Below is the statement from Mark Briffa, the CEO:
Air Partner has traded well over the first half of the financial year with underlying pre-tax profit in line with the Board’s expectations and with the same period last year. The Group retains a strong net cash position.
Our US business had a record year last year and that strong performance continued across all business lines in the region over the first half. In June, we opened a new office in Los Angeles and expanded headcount in our New York office.
In the UK, after a flat start, Commercial Jets performed well over the second quarter with increased activity around the FIFA World Cup in Russia and a good result from Tour Operations. We continue to see the benefit of investments made in our Freight business with another strong performance throughout the period.
In the US and Europe, Private Jets has seen good growth in both JetCard numbers and bookings throughout the first six months. While the UK has been more subdued, we have seen an increase in the number of JetCards in issue.
Consulting & Training division
Our Consulting & Training division is trading in line with expectations, winning some excellent long term contracts in the first half. We have an encouraging pipeline for the remainder of the year and the division remains well placed for further growth.
Across the Group, we are actively recruiting key roles to support our exciting strategic growth plans, and investing in the business to enhance our platform and customer offering. A competitive tender process is underway to appoint new external auditors, which will be completed over the second half with an appointment expected in sufficient time for the new auditors to undertake any preparatory systems and controls assessments deemed necessary prior to commencement of the year end audit. The interim review of the half year financial results will therefore be undertaken by Deloitte.
The Board is encouraged by this good start to the year and remains confident in the Group’s prospects for the full year and beyond. As we always state, the global charter business has consistently been, and will continue to be, a volatile industry. Against this backdrop we manage the business for the long term, with a very clear strategy of alignment to the needs of our global customer base. We have a strong portfolio of global aviation services, which provides us with exposure to various sectors and geographies, and our portfolio approach, without any single product or market dominance, often enables us to mitigate volatility, in either direction, in any one market or product line over the course of a year.
In line with our clear growth strategy, the Board continues to assess investment opportunities, both organic and acquisition, to enhance or extend the services and capabilities we offer our customers, which will ultimately strengthen and advance our business.
– Mark Briffa, CEO, Air Partner PLC