In what Air Partner CEO Mark Briffa described as a “solid first half performance” the publicly traded seller of aviation services, including on-demand charter and jet cards said it earned a gross profit of £18.0 million, six-tenths of a percent below the same period in 2017. Underlying profit before tax of £4.2m, was a year-on-year increase of 2.4% while statutory profit before tax of £2.6m was £1.1m lower than the previous year driven by the associated costs of the company’s accounting review concluded earlier this year. In August, the company had offered its latest update.
Underlying EPS of 6.1 pence was up 8.9% on the prior year with a proposed interim dividend of 1.75 pence, an increase of 2.9%, payable on 7 December 2018. Net cash (excluding prepayments from jet card sales) was £6.7 million, £1.9 million from the year-end but a £3.9 million, 36.8% drop from 2017.
In a commentary, Air Partner said Commercial Jets performed well against “a tough comparative period,” buoyed by strong FIFA World Cup and tour operator flying. U.S. profits increased across divisions with continued strength in Freight with gross profits up 36%, and Consulting & Training gross profit up 8%.
It said Private Jets was strong in the U.S. but flat in the UK and Europe. Further, it said acquisitions are now contributing 15% of group gross profits and the company has “confidence in expectations for the full year.”
Briffa, in a prepared statement, said, “I am pleased to report on a solid first-half performance, in which we have made continued progress against our strategy. We have seen an increased contribution from our acquisitions, good trading against a tough comparable period, and strong performances from JetCard in the U.S. and the Freight division, as well as increased activity from the FIFA World Cup and Tour Operations in Commercial Jets.”
He continued, “This has resulted in good underlying profitability, an improvement in net cash from the year-end and a healthy dividend increase. These results provide the Group with a solid platform for future growth, from which we can continue to build and strengthen the business, ever extending and enhancing the services and capabilities we offer our global client base.”
Gerald Khoo, an analyst with Liberum which rates Air Partner as a buy commented, “The interim results were as expected, reflecting the trends highlighted at the pre-close stage. Profit growth was understated by the comparative not being restated for the previously-reported accounting issue. The strongest performances came in Commercial Jets and the U.S. Current trading is in line with management’s expectations. We leave our PBT forecasts unchanged overall, but raise our EPS estimates on a lower tax rate from US profit growth. We raise our DCF-based target price to 160p from 155p on higher forecasts and our recommendation remains BUY.”
Jet Partner offers a broker jet card titled JetCard starting at 10 hours of flight time and is refundable. You can also use your deposit for on-demand charter and there are fixed-rate service areas covering North America, Europe, and the Middle East.