Sabre Holdings Corporation has announced financial results for the third quarter of 2006.
The company reported revenue for the third quarter of $746 million, up 7 percent year-over-year. Diluted earnings per share were $0.64 on an adjusted basis, up 29 percent from $0.50 in the year-ago quarter. On a GAAP basis, diluted earnings per share were $0.52, up 15 percent from $0.45 in the same period last year.
“Our businesses continue to demonstrate their strength in the marketplace,” said Sam Gilliland, Chairman and CEO, Sabre Holdings. “Both Travelocity and Airline Solutions realized their most profitable quarters ever, and Travel Network had a defining quarter with the completion of long-term, full-content agreements with all of the leading U.S. network carriers. Furthermore, the company as a whole saw strong performance from operations, with substantial year-over-year improvement in operating income and adjusted EBITDA.”
SABRE HOLDINGS 3Q 2006
(Note: See attached schedules for full financial details, reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures, and a description of adjusting items. These results include lastminute.com as of July 20, 2005.)
Revenue: Third quarter revenue was $746 million, an increase of 7 percent from $700 million in the year-ago quarter.
Operating income: On an adjusted basis, operating income for the third quarter was $145 million, with an adjusted operating margin of 19 percent, compared to $112 million, with an adjusted operating margin of 16 percent, in the year-ago quarter. Operating income on a GAAP basis was $120 million, with an operating margin of 16 percent, compared to $100 million, with an operating margin of 14 percent, in the third quarter of 2005.
Net earnings: For the third quarter, net earnings on an adjusted basis were $84 million, or $0.64 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $65 million, or $0.50 per share on a diluted basis in the third quarter of 2005. On a GAAP basis, third quarter net earnings were $68 million, or $0.52 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $58 million, or $0.45 per share on a diluted basis in the year-ago quarter.
Adjusted EBITDA: For the third quarter, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $172 million, growth of 24 percent year-over-year. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 23 percent.
Cash Flow: Free cash flow for the quarter was $50 million, compared to $62 million in the year-ago quarter. Cash flow from operations was $79 million, compared to $84 million in the third quarter 2005.
Cash/Debt: The company balance sheet as of Sept. 30, 2006, reflected cash and marketable securities of $520 million. Total debt at the end of the quarter was $1.1 billion, which included notes and bonds payable of $976 million and a $157 million capital lease obligation.
SABRE HOLDINGS BUSINESS REVIEW
For the third quarter, Travelocity global gross travel booked was $2.5 billion, an increase of 18 percent year-over-year. Total global revenue for the quarter was $321 million, year-over-year growth of 16 percent. Travelocity had operating income on an adjusted basis of $57 million with an operating margin of 18 percent. On a GAAP basis, operating income was $41 million with an operating margin of 13 percent. Adjusted EBITDA reached $67 million, resulting in a 21 percent adjusted EBITDA margin.
For Travelocity results on a geographic basis, including gross travel booked, revenue, operating income and adjusted EBITDA, please see the attached schedules.
Travelocity global metrics in the third quarter (year-over-year) include the following:
—Total air transaction revenue grew 7 percent
—Total non-air transaction revenue grew 18 percent
—Total packaging revenue grew 7 percent
—Packaging revenue as a percent of total transaction revenue was 24 percent
—Hotel room nights sold across the Travelocity network were 4.9 million, growth of 7 percent
SABRE TRAVEL NETWORK
Third quarter revenue from the Sabre Travel Network business was $398 million, a decrease of 1 percent from $402 million in the year-ago quarter. Global transactions in the quarter were 87 million, growth of 2 percent year-over-year. Operating income for Sabre Travel Network on an adjusted basis was $75 million with an operating margin of 19 percent. On a GAAP basis, operating income was $67 million with an operating margin of 17 percent. Adjusted EBITDA was $88 million which resulted in a 22 percent adjusted EBITDA margin.
SABRE AIRLINE SOLUTIONS
Third quarter revenue from Sabre Airline Solutions was $72 million, an increase of 7 percent from $67 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating income for the Sabre Airline Solutions unit on an adjusted basis was $14 million with an operating margin of 19 percent. On a GAAP basis, operating income was $12 million with an operating margin of 17 percent. Adjusted EBITDA was $18 million, which resulted in a 26 percent adjusted EBITDA margin.
RECENT BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS
—Elected two new board members: Christopher J. Fraleigh, CEO of Sara Lee Food & Beverage and a senior vice president of Sara Lee Corp., and Ronald V. Waters III, who most recently served as COO for the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.
—Announced a mid-cycle, 30-percent increase in the quarterly cash dividend, reflecting long-term confidence in cash flows. Declared a cash dividend of $0.13 per share payable on Nov. 10, 2006, to shareholders of record at the close of regular trading on the NYSE on Oct. 23, 2006.
—Signed a five-year, full-content agreement with American Airlines; Sabre now has long-term, full-content deals with all major U.S. network carriers. Additionally, eight U.S. carriers have joined the Efficient Access Solution (EAS) program, ensuring EAS agencies will have full travel content and other benefits.
—Announced that nearly 100 percent of Sabre Connected North American travel agencies are participating in its EAS program.
—Signed a five-year, full-content agreement with JetBlue Airways. The carrier, which previously was not in any global distribution system, chose Sabre as the first GDS in which to participate. Also, as part of the agreement, JetBlue flights will be available as part of Travelocity packages.
—Formally launched the Travelocity VIP program that recognizes the company’s most loyal customers with priority customer service, exclusive discounts and additional perks that are relevant and easy to use.
—Successfully implemented service from Travelocity Business at Lockheed Martin. Lockheed ranked fourth on the Business Travel News (BTN) 100 Corporate Travel list, spending more than $200 million in corporate travel a year.
—Received accolades for ZUJI ( www.zuji.com ) which was named, for the second consecutive year, “the best online travel agent in Asia Pacific” by TTG, one of the leading travel industry publications in Asia.
—Announced that Air China, China’s National Flag Carrier, signed a $15 million agreement for Sabre Airline Solutions to implement a state-of-the-art Flight Operations Control Center.
—Signed a multi-year, full-content distribution agreement with Lufthansa German Airlines and was named a preferred global distribution system.
—Entered into a sale leaseback agreement for part of the company headquarter facilities in Southlake, Texas, on September 7, 2006, with Maguire Partners. The transaction is part of a plan expected to generate approximately $10 million in annual savings beginning in 2008.
SABRE HOLDINGS OUTLOOK
For the fourth quarter of 2006, the company projects revenue to be in the range of $650 million to $680 million. Diluted earnings per share are projected to be in the range of $0.42 to $0.46 on an adjusted basis, and $0.29 to $0.33 on a GAAP basis.
For the full-year 2006, the company projects revenue approaching $3 billion. Diluted earnings per share are projected to be greater than $1.70 on an adjusted basis and greater than $1.12 on a GAAP basis, though the company expects to well exceed the low end of the projections. In addition, free cash flow is expected to be greater than $300 million, with cash flow from operations greater than $425 million; however, the company expects to be closer to the bottom end of these projections due to lower than projected benefit from working capital as a result of softness in North America packaging and Travelocity Europe sales during the second quarter and early in the third quarter of this year.