Published January 25, 2013
Alaska profits narrowly miss Wall Street estimatesJOHN GILLIE
SeaTac’s Alaska Air Group announced record profits in the fourth quarter and for 2012 on Thursday as passenger traffic increased, costs declined and the airline holding company’s return on invested capital jumped to 13 percent. Alaska Air Group is the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Even with such encouraging results, the company’s results were a small disappointment for Wall Street which in recent months have come to expect big things from the company. Alaska earned 70 cents a share compared with Wall Street consensus expectations of 71 cents a share. Here are the earnings numbers: • Fourth quarter net income excluding special items was $50 million, compared with $37 million in last year’s fourth quarter. • For the year net income was $339 million versus $287 million in 2011. • Employee productivity improved by 3.5 percent compared with the fourth quarter of last year. • Planes were fuller this year than last year with 85.9 percent of seats filled with paying passengers. That’s up 1.4 percentage points from the prior year. • The company rewarded its employees with $88 million in incentive pay during the year. That pay amounted to more than a month’s extra pay per employee. • In the meantime, Alaska rewarded its shareholders by repurchasing nearly 1.7 million shares. • And the company paid down debt to reduce debt-to-capital ratio to 54 percent in 2011. That compares with 81 percent at the end of 2008. “We’re very pleased with our strong performance in 2012, and we are moving ahead in 2013 to make Alaska a great airline,” said Brad Tilden, Alaska’s chief executive officer.