After market close on Jan. 17, United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) released its Q4 and 2016 financial results. The results are available on the United website.
Among the highlights, United posted a net income of $2.3 billion on $36.56 billion in revenue for the full year. This amount works out to a diluted EPS of $6.85 and a pre-tax margin of 10.4 percent including special items. (See also: What is the difference between earnings per share (EPS) and diluted EPS?)
In the fourth quarter, United had a net income of $397 million on $9.1 billion in revenue. The airline reported a diluted EPS of $1.26 and a pre-tax margin of 9.8 percent including special items.
Employee profit sharing at United was down in 2016. Employees received $628 million in 2016 compared to what United called a “record $698 million” in 2015. In 2016, United paid out $120 million worth of bonus payouts.
In 2016, passenger revenue per available seat mile at United fell by 5.4 percent. The airline attributed the drop to “a strong U.S. dollar, lower surcharges, reductions from energy-related corporate travel, and declining yields.”
On the expense side, United decreased its cost per available seat mile by 2.9 percent. This decline in expenses was thanks in part to decreased fuel costs, says the United press release. Labor expenses were higher than in 2015 because of new labor agreements between the airline and its technicians.
In 2016, United reinvested $3.2 billion of its $5.8 billion cash flow into capital expenditure. The company also repurchased $2.6 billion worth of its common shares. This amount represents approximately 14 percent of the United shares currently outstanding. United reports it paid an average price of $51.80 per share.
Looking forward, United Airlines President Scott Kirby says the airline expects “first-quarter consolidated unit revenues to be approximately flat, marking the fourth straight quarter of sequential quarter-over-quarter improvement.” (See also: United Airlines to Reduce Management Team.)
United shares closed at $73.74 on Jan. 17. By early evening, the shares had fallen 1.6 percent.