WestJet's record $367.5m net earnings for 2015 good news after tough Q4

WestJet’s record $367.5m net earnings for 2015 good news after tough Q4

CALGARY — WestJet’s full-year 2015 net earnings were $367.5 million, a record for the airline.

For the fourth quarter the airline reported diluted earnings per share of $0.51, down 27% from $0.70 reported last year.

The Calgary-based airline says its net income and adjusted earnings were both $63.4 million or 51 cents per share, down by $27.3 million from $90.7 million the fourth quarter of 2014.

The company says the 2015 fourth quarter included a $10.1 million loss on foreign exchange, compared with a $2.5 million loss a year earlier.

WestJet’s revenue also declined by 3.6% to $958.7 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, down $35.7 million from $994.4 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

The company didn’t provide details on the revenue decline but suggested some of it related to Alberta’s recent economic weakness as the oil and gas sector grapples with a dramatic drop in prices since late 2014.

The fourth quarter provided a weak ending to an otherwise strong year for WestJet, which saw net income rise by 29.4% in 2015 to $367.5 million. WestJet’s adjusted earnings were also $367.5 million, up 15.9 per cent from 2014.

“Today we reported the third-best fourth quarter in WestJet’s history to complete a record year in 2015,” said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. “Notwithstanding the impact that recent economic weakness in Alberta has had on our results, our decision to increase our normal course issuer bid demonstrates our confidence in WestJet’s proven business model and the financial strength of our airline.

“My thanks go out to our more than 11,000 WestJetters for all their hard work in driving our continuing success as we look forward to celebrating WestJet’s 20th birthday in 2016, a year which will see the launch of our exciting new wide-body service to London Gatwick.”