Earnings Results: United Airlines swings to profit despite ‘worst’ winter storm, issues blue-sky guidance

by | Jan 17, 2023 | Stock Market

United Airlines Holdings Inc. late Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings that were well above Wall Street expectations, saying it managed well the severe winter-weather disruptions in late December, and offered an optimistic view of the current quarter and guidance for full-year 2023. United
managed through “one of the worst weather events in my career to get deliver for so many of our customers and get them home for the holidays,” United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby said.

U.S. airlines canceled or delayed thousands of flights in late December due to Winter Storm Elliott, with Southwest Airlines Co.
the worst affected. Southwest told Wall Street to expect a fourth-quarter loss, adding that the cancelations are likely to cost about $825 million. United’s Kirby pinned the different outcome for his airline on “critical” investments in personnel and technology. “That’s why we’ve got a big head start, and we’re now poised to accelerate in 2023,” the CEO said. United earned $843 million, or $2.55 a share, in the fourth quarter, swinging from a loss of $646 million, or $1.99 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, United earned $2.46 a share. Revenue rose to $12.40 billion from $8.2 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected United to report adjusted earnings of $2.11 a share on revenue of $12.23 billion. The stock rallied more than 3% in extended trading after ending the regular trading day down 0.9%. The airline has scheduled a conference call with analysts Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern See also: Here’s what Delta Air earnings say about the rest of the industry United guided for first-quarter adjusted EPS between 50 cents and $1, well above current FactSet consensus of 31 cents a share, and said it expects revenue to grow around 50% in the quarter. For the full year, the airline called for adjusted EPS between $10 and $12, also significantly higher than FactSet consensus of $6.84 a share. …

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