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U.S. Airways Reports Strong Fourth Quarter Earnings, Shares Pop

U.S. Airways Reports Strong Fourth Quarter Earnings, Shares Pop

U.S. Airways (NYSE: LCC) Wednesday morning reported fourth quarter earnings per share that beat analyst expectations and shares rose. The company reported strong earnings growth from the same period a year ago as well.

For the fourth quarter of 2012, U.S. Airways reported earnings per share of $0.26, well above analyst expectations of earnings per share of $0.19. The bottom-line beat was not matched on the top-line however, as revenue was in line with expectations at $3.28 billion.

Further, excluding net special items, full year 2012 earnings per share rose 384 percent from 2011. Earnings per share less net special items for 2012 was reported as $2.79 per diluted share, well above the $0.68 per diluted share earned in 2011.

Also, fourth quarter earnings showed significant growth from the same period in 2011, doubling to $0.26 from the $0.13 earned in the same period a year ago.

There were a few negative special items that affected the company, and yet earnings per share still trumped estimates. The company recorded a $35 million charge in the fourth quarter relating to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which represents approximately 75 percent of net income from the quarter.

Also, the company recorded a $9 million charge in the quarter relating to a corporate transaction and auction rate security arbitration.

US Airways Group, Inc. Chairman and CEO Doug Parker stated, “Our team members produced the best operating reliability performance in our history -which is no easy feat since US Airways led all network carriers in on-time performance from 2008-2011.

"But in 2012, we did even better with record highs in on-time performance, completion factor and baggage handling. This helped lead to our best ever annual results in total revenue, total traffic, mainline load factor, mainline yield and mainline revenue."

Parker continued, saying, "“These outstanding operating and revenue results combined with strong cost discipline led to record net income excluding special items of $537 million, up nearly 400 percent versus last year. Our shareholders were rewarded for their confidence in our team as US Airways stock increased 166 percent in 2012, the largest increase of any company in the Fortune 500.

"We enter 2013 with great momentum and enthusiasm and are well positioned for whatever may lie ahead,” concluded Parker.

Shares rose 1.5 percent in early trading in New York following the strong earnings report. Investors now turn to the conference call, set to begin later this morning, for management discussion of the quarter, the full year, and of future guidance.

Also, it will be interesting if the company has any comments on the embattled 787 Dreamliner, produced by Boeing (NYSE: BA).


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