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COVID-19’s Impact On Travel Creates Widespread Uncertainty
March 5, 2020
15+ min read
Interested in staying up-to-date on COVID-19’s impact across sectors? Visit our Coronavirus Impact Tracker for daily updates pulled from earnings calls, press releases, 8ks, and more.
Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, the TSA reported a 96% drop in air travel, nearly 80% of hotel rooms laying empty and the CDC renewing the No Sail Order for cruise ships, Coronavirus had all but stopped the travel industry in its tracks. The World Travel & Tourism councils estimated up to 75 million jobs are at immediate risk and in 2020 alone, the global economy could stand to lose $2.1 trillion.
Who is talking about how travel is impacting their businesses? Learn which companies are communicating on COVID-19’s travel impacts and how they expect the virus to affect financial results.
- United Airlines reported a net loss of USD (1.7m) in the first quarter 2020, and an adjusted net loss of USD (639) million.
- Delta Airlines’ Executive VP & CFO noted that “5 years from now, I expect things to be relatively returned to normal.”
- The majority of major airlines, online bookings sites, hotel groups, and cruise lines have pulled financial guidance for 2020
- Cost reduction measures such as lay-offs, furloughs and wage cuts have become commonplace and many businesses are drawing down credit facilities
- Industrial parts manufacturers that support these businesses have been forced to cut production significantly
Here are the highlights:
[Note: We are updating this post and our compilation post to reflect the most recent commentary. Last updated 5/22]
Deutsche Post AG (Conference Transcript – 5/20)
So overall, we plan right now quarter-by-quarter. So what quarter 3 will bring is it already a bit too early to tell. But one thing we do sense is that the capacity on the air freight side will remain stressed because the passenger airplanes will not come back as we were used before corona — before the corona situation. And if we see these ghost flights where airlines bring empty passenger planes into certain trade lanes and markets, they are a bit of a relief, but they are not a real relief.
Delta Airlines (Earnings Call Transcript – 5/19)
Question – Hunter Kent Keay: Okay. What is the — over a business cycle up until pre-coronavirus, what was the return on invested capital on a wide-body aircraft versus a narrowbody aircraft?
And the second part of the question is, what are the odds that Delta doesn’t fly any wide-body aircrafts 5 years from now?
Answer – Paul A. Jacobson: I would say that the return on invested capital is a little bit lower for the wide-bodies, and that trends consistently with the domestic being the most profitable and then the international regions sort of sequencing down from there.
5 years from now, I expect things to be relatively returned to normal. Of course, we can’t see that far into the future. We don’t know what a COVID resurgence looks like. But I do have a lot of faith in economic systems where there are a lot of really, really smart people with a lot of capital working to solve this crisis for everybody. And usually, when that happens, when there’s an abundance of both things, problems get solved.
Ryanair (Press Release – 5/18)
Covid-19 flight restrictions and aircraft groundings in the 2nd half of March reduced traffic by over 5m in Q4.
The widespread grounding of aircraft as a result of EU governments reactions to the spread of Covid-19 means that the Group will operate a significantly reduced flying schedule in FY21 compared to what was originally expected. Therefore, the Group is recording an exceptional hedge ineffectiveness charge of €392M.
This was primarily due to increased pilot pay and higher crewing ratios, increased ownership costs due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays and a 15% reduction in Q4 traffic due to the response of EU Governments to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Since mid-March responses included wide spread flight bans and travel restrictions which have closed Europe’s skies to all but a tiny number of rescue and medical flights.
Singapore Airlines (Trading Update – 5/8)
American Airlines (Press Release – 5/4)
American Airlines Group has announced it plans to officially retire five types of older, less fuel-efficient aircraft from its fleet, the company said.
The exiting aircraft are being retired amid a period of record low demand for air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In March, American Airlines said it was planning to accelerate the retirement of some older aircraft from its fleet sooner than originally planned. The company will retire a total of about 100 older aircraft.
Boeing (Press Release – 5/4)
United Airlines (UAL) has reported a net loss of USD (1.7m) in the first quarter 2020, and an adjusted net loss of USD (639) million, the company said.
The company’s total liquidity as of the close of business on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 was approximately USD 9.6 billion, including USD 2 billion under its undrawn revolving credit facility. The company currently expects daily cash burn to average between USD 40 million and USD 45 million during the second quarter of 2020.
The company took early and aggressive action intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 to position the company to bounce back quickly and make United stronger when demand returns.
Ryanair (Press Release – 5/1)
We are in active negotiations with both Boeing, and Laudamotion’s A320 lessors to cut the number of planned aircraft deliveries over the next 24 months, which could reduce our capex commitments, to more accurately reflect a slower and more distorted EU air travel market in a post Covid-19 world.
Boeing Co (Press Release – 4/30)
Boeing‘s results showed dire figures, especially for its Commercial Airplanes business. Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as the root of the company’s troubles. The fall in revenues for Commercial Aircrafts, declining from US$11,822bn to US$6,205bn year-on-year and featuring US$2bn in operating losses, could be foreseen from the recent succession of cancellations that stroke Boeing‘s backlog, especially the B737.
“Boeing‘s troubles started last year with the grounding of the B737 MAX after two successive crashes. Boeing‘s commercial aircrafts’ order backlog is 80% composed of single-aisles in unit terms, according to GlobalData. However, this figure tends to diminish in relative terms with cancellations such as Avolon’s (75 MAXs) or GE Capital Aviation’s (69 MAXs) in April this year. The crisis of air travel generated by the pandemic is another nail in the single-aisle fuel-efficient coffin. The jetliner market was confronted to a slowdown of the Asian market already before the COVID-19 outbreak and narrow-body also have to live with the growing irrelevance of fuel efficiency since the collapse of oil price.
Costar Group (10Q – 4/29)
COVID-19 has surfaced in nearly all regions around the world and resulted in travel restrictions and business slowdowns or shutdowns in affected areas. The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown and rapidly evolving. The COVID-19 pandemic did not materially affect the Company’s condensed consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2020 . As the extent and duration of the impacts from COVID-19 remain unclear…
…In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also taken steps to manage our costs including minimizing hiring to essential positions, restricting business travel and canceling in-person marketing events. As the situation evolves, we may implement additional cost reductions.
Southwest Airlines (Earnings Call Transcript – 4/28)
On our last call, I gave a quick update on our GDS initiative, which you might recall is focused on growing our share of the corporate travel market. When we announced last week that we’ll be going live on May 4 with travel ports Apollo and Worldspan GDS platforms, which means that all of our everyday low-fare content will now be available with industry standard ticketing and settlement capabilities. And the response from the travel management companies and corporate travel managers across the country has been absolutely phenomenal, and we’re excited about what this means for us and for our customers.
So from a corporate travel perspective, in spite of COVID, it is full speed ahead, and we will be in a strong position as business travel begins to come back. It’s going to take some time, but it will come back, and we’ll take more than our share.
UPS (Earnings Call Transcript – 4/28)
Question – Scott Andrew Schneeberger: Could you please discuss volumes, and particularly pricing, you’ve encountered on international export parcels? And what is the fluctuating level of commercial airlines flying cargo in the belly space over the past few months due to the coronavirus impact?
Answer – Nando Cesarone: Yes. Just — I’ll start off. It’s Nando. Thanks. Just talk about belly capacity for a second. We know it’s limited right now, and for a period of time into the future, the industry is down around 80% at this point in time and approximately 70,000 daily tons. So quite a bit of capacity that’s been taken out of the market. Not sure how long the condition will last, but certainly, a recovery will most likely happen when businesses — business travel and tourist travel begin again into the future. And that’s really the big question mark. For now, we have added aircraft, we have added flights where we see, and if it’s appropriate in terms of profitability, we will purchase transportation. But we are dealing with that capacity that’s not available as it was in the past and allowing us to make sure we run our network as efficiently as possible.
Caterpillar Inc (Earnings Call Transcript – 4/28)
From a cost control perspective, we reduced discretionary expenses, including consulting, travel and entertainment.
Given the COVID-19 environment, we suspended 2020 base salary increases and short-term incentive compensation plans for many employees and all our senior executives. We’ll continue to look for ways to make our cost structure more flexible and competitive.
Turning to our suppliers. We keep a close eye on their financial health as well. In the event that a supplier faces financial distress, we identify solutions to support them whilst also ensuring supply for Caterpillar’s products. In particular, our suppliers have access to working capital support through a partnership with one of our third-party banks. This can provide quick access to cash flow to help them cover their payment commitments, all of no risk to Caterpillar.
Southwest Airlines (Preliminary Prospectus Supplement – 4/28)
Our financial results have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as demand for both business and leisure air travel has declined considerably. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial performance will depend on future developments, including the duration, spread, severity, and any recurrence, of the COVID-19 pandemic; the duration and scope of related government orders and restrictions; and the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on overall demand for air travel, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.
Air travel is also significantly affected by general economic conditions, the amount of disposable income available to consumers, unemployment levels, corporate travel budgets, fears or actual outbreaks of infectious disease, extreme or severe weather and natural disasters, fears of terrorism or war, and other factors beyond our control. These and other factors, such as the price of jet fuel in some periods, the nature of our fuel hedging program, and the periodic volatility of commodities used by us for hedging jet fuel, have created, and may continue to create, significant volatility in our financial results.
Southwest Airlines (10Q – 5/28)
The speed with which the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the U.S. economic landscape, outlook, and in particular the travel industry, has been swift and unexpected. The Company began to see a negative impact on bookings for future travel in late February 2020, which quickly accelerated into and throughout March. January and February operating revenues were generally in line with the Company’s expectations, but March results were significantly below expectations due to the sharp decline in Passenger demand and bookings, combined with an unprecedented level of close-in trip cancellations (Customers canceling close to scheduled flight times). On March 22, the Company began proactively canceling a significant portion of its scheduled flights, and increased those cancellations further beginning on March 27, 2020. In addition, the cancellation of flights, both in March 2020 and for future periods, has resulted in a significant amount of cash refunds and issuance of travel credits to Customers. Further, due to the fears and restrictions involved with travel in the near term, sales of tickets for future travel have been well below the Company’s expectations. These events have created a liquidity risk, and the Company reacted quickly by taking the following steps to better enable it to meet all financial obligations as they become due.
… In response to flight schedule adjustments due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of aircraft were taken out of the Company’s schedule beginning in late March. As of March 31, a portion of the Company’s fleet had been placed in temporary storage and the Company was actively canceling a significant portion of its previously scheduled flying. Given the current expectation that these aircraft have been grounded temporarily, the Company has continued to record depreciation expense associated with them.
Lockheed Martin (10Q – 4/22)
For example, we had a brief pause in operations at the F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facilities in Japan and Italy in March in observance of such countries’ COVID-19 policies and additional closures could occur, and we are seeing impacts from base closures and travel restrictions both within and outside the U.S. In many cases facilities are not operating under full staffing as a result of COVID-19, which could have a longer-term impact. Flight test operations and training are being impacted by travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, which could delay our deliveries to customers. We also have some limited operations that are not designated as critical infrastructure and therefore have been mandated to close or operate at only minimum basic operations. However, these closures to date have not been material.
AIRBUS SE (PR – 4/8)
Airbus provides update on March commercial aircraft orders & deliveries and adapts production rates in COVID-19 environment
– Business impacted by COVID-19 pandemic
– 21 net orders and 36 deliveries in March 2020
– 290 net orders and 122 deliveries in Q1 2020
– Production rates revised downwards adapting to new market environment
After a solid commercial and industrial performance at the beginning of the year, Airbus (stock exchange symbol: AIR) is now revising its production rates downwards to adapt to the new Coronavirus market environment.
In Q1 2020, Airbus booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft.
A further 60 aircraft were produced during the quarter, highlighting the solid industrial performance, however they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
36 aircraft were delivered in March across the different aircraft families, down from 55 in February 2020. This reflects customer requests to defer deliveries, as well as other factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The new average production rates going forward have been set as follows:
– A320 to rate 40 per month
– A330 to rate 2 per month
– A350 to rate 6 per month
This represents a reduction of the pre-coronavirus average rates of roughly one third. With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves.
BOOKING HOLDINGS (Prospectus – 4/8)
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in scope and effect, we believe that travel will rebound at some point as it did following other events such as SARS, 9/11 and the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. We believe that we will be well positioned to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and extend our leadership with the size of our demand platform becoming increasingly more valuable to our supply partners, our ability to take advantage of customer acquisition opportunities when travel demand returns and our strong cash and liquidity position, which may provide opportunistic uses of capital following the crisis.
CARNIVAL PLC (Interim Report – 4/3)
Due to the spread of COVID-19 and the effects of growing port restrictions around the world, we previously announced a voluntary pause of our global fleet cruise operations. Significant events affecting travel, including COVID-19, typically have an impact on booking patterns, with the full extent of the impact generally determined by the length of time the event influences travel decisions. We believe the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on our operations and global bookings have had, and will continue to have a material negative impact on our financial results and liquidity, and such negative impact may continue well beyond the containment of such outbreak.
We cannot assure you that our assumptions used to estimate our liquidity requirements will be correct because we have never previously experienced a complete cessation of our cruising operations, and as a consequence, our ability to be predictive is uncertain. In addition, the magnitude, duration and speed of the global pandemic is uncertain. As a consequence, we cannot estimate the impact on our business, financial condition or near- or longer-term financial or operational results with reasonable certainty, but we expect a net loss on both a U.S. GAAP and adjusted basis for the fiscal year ending November 30, 2020. On March 13, 2020, we fully drew down our $3.0 billion multi-currency revolving credit facility (the “Existing Multicurrency
Facility”). We are taking further actions to improve our liquidity, including capital expenditure and operating expense reductions, suspending dividend payments on, and the repurchase of, the common stock of Carnival Corporation and the ordinary shares of Carnival plc and pursuing additional financing. Based on these actions and assumptions regarding the impact of COVID-19, we have concluded that we will be able to generate sufficient liquidity to satisfy our obligations and remain in compliance with our existing debt covenants for the next twelve months prior to giving effect to any additional financing that may occur.
RYANAIR HOLDINGS (6k – 4/3)
Ryanair is currently operating less than 20 daily flights, which is 99% less than its pre-Covid 19 daily schedule of over 2,500 flights. The airline expects its fleet to remain largely grounded for at least April and May. We therefore expect to record ineffectiveness on our FY21 fuel hedges as an exceptional item in our FY20 results. We currently estimate that this will amount to an exceptional charge of approximately €300m. Ryanair Group Airlines continue to work with EU Governments to maintain minimum flight links for emergency reasons, and to operate rescue and medical flights when requested to do so. Ryanair continues to operate occasional currency flights to ensure that its pilots and aircraft are ready for a return to service when this Covid-19 crisis passes, as it inevitably will.
Ryanair has one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry, with year-end cash equivalents of €3.8bn and 327 (77%) of the Group’s owned fleet unencumbered and debt free. The Ryanair Group has already implemented a series of measures to cut operating costs, improve liquidity and cash flows. These include aircraft groundings, deferring capex, suspending share buybacks, freezing recruitment and discretionary spending, cutting all pay (including senior management) by 50% with immediate effect for April and May, and we are engaging with our people and our unions across all EU countries to agree payroll support mechanisms as they are put in place by EU Governments.
We are grateful to many EU Governments for their foresight and speed of response in recognising that the EU airlines are one of the most exposed industries to the Covid-19 pandemic and that our flights have been grounded by necessary Government restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19. However, we equally support the EU Commission’s position that any such Government supports must comply with all EU State Aid and Competition rules.
Given the continued uncertainty on the impact and duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not possible to give FY21 guidance at this time. The Ryanair Group of Airlines will continue to focus on delivering cost savings, protecting jobs, working with EU Governments to support rescue and medical flights, and preparing for the return to normal service when the Covid-19 crisis has passed, which we hope will be sooner rather than later.
VAIL RESORTS (8k – 4/1)
Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer, said, “The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are unprecedented and the financial impact to our Company and the broader travel industry has been significant. Following the difficult decision to close our North American mountain resorts, retail stores and lodging properties for the remainder of the 2019/2020 North American ski season, we have quickly transitioned to evaluating the longer-term impacts for our Company and our resort operations. While we will continue to assess our ability to reopen select resorts for late-season skiing, we are keenly aware that the current travel restrictions may stay in place beyond that timeframe and could ultimately impact the timing of our ability to open our North American resorts for their summer season and our Australian resorts for their winter season. And once we are able to reopen, we assume weaker travel demand may continue, impacting our fourth fiscal quarter of 2020 and our first fiscal quarter of 2021.
“The Company went into this challenging time period with a strong financial position and based on recent events, we are currently incorporating more challenging scenarios into our planning for our fourth fiscal quarter of 2020 and the first fiscal quarter of 2021. As mentioned in our March 18, 2020 press release, we are taking additional proactive steps to align our capital spending and return of capital approach to ensure that we remain positioned for long-term success. We are also taking steps to address our operating costs and the inability of many of our employees to perform their roles in the current environment.
“We are reducing our capital plan for calendar 2020 by approximately $80-$85 million, with the vast majority of these savings coming from the deferral of many of our discretionary capital projects. We are planning to defer all new chair lifts, terrain expansions and other mountain and base area improvements, while continuing with the vast majority of our maintenance capital spending.
CARNIVAL CORPORATION (8k – 3/31)
Significant events affecting travel, including COVID-19, typically have an impact on booking patterns, with the full extent of the impact generally determined by the length of time the event influences travel decisions. We believe the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on our operations and global bookings have had, and will continue to have, a material negative impact on our financial results and liquidity, and such negative impact may continue well beyond the containment of such outbreak. In particular:
- For the seven week period beginning January 26, 2020 and ending March 15, 2020, booking volumes for the remainder of 2020 were significantly behind the prior year on a comparable basis as a result of the effects of COVID-19. As of March 15, 2020, cumulative advanced bookings for the remainder of 2020 were meaningfully lower than the prior year and at prices that are considerably lower than the prior year on a comparable basis. As noted above, all of our global fleet operations are subject to voluntary pauses that we expect to be extended. Due to the unknown length of the pauses, booking volume data for 2020 may not be informative. In addition, because of our updated cancellation policies, booking volumes may not be representative of actual cruise revenues.
- For the first half of 2021, booking volumes since mid-December 2019 through March 1, 2020, were running slightly higher than the prior year. In contrast, for the first half of 2021 and during the two weeks ended March 15, 2020, we booked 546,000 Occupied Lower Berth Days, which was considerably behind the prior year pace. As of March 15, 2020, cumulative advanced bookings for the first half of 2021 were slightly lower than the prior year.
As of February 29, 2020, we had a total of 16 cruise ships scheduled to be delivered through 2025, including four during the remainder of fiscal 2020. We believe the effects of COVID-19 on the shipyards where our ships are under construction will result in delays in ship deliveries, which we cannot predict and may be prolonged.
In March 2020, Moody’s and S&P Global downgraded our long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings. In addition, our long-term ratings were placed on review for further downgrade by both rating agencies. Our short-term commercial paper credit ratings were also placed on review for downgrade.
On March 13, 2020, we fully drew down our $3.0 billion multi-currency unsecured revolving credit agreement (“Existing Multicurrency Facility”). On March 24, 2020, we settled derivatives in a net gain position of approximately $200 million. Consequently, as of the date hereof, our principal source of immediate liquidity includes our available cash and cash equivalents. Given the impact of COVID-19 on bookings, which are meaningfully reduced from the prior year comparative pace, and the pause of our global fleet cruise operations, which we expect to be extended, we are conducting the offering of the Notes and the Equity Offering to raise an additional $6.0 billion in aggregate gross proceeds (a portion of which will be subject to escrow arrangements).
HUAZHU GROUP LTD (Earnings Call – 3/27)
Answer – Justin Kwok: I got 3 questions, 2 related to the sector and perhaps the last one related to Europe. For the first 2 questions on the sector: can I get a sense on how management is seeing the potential behavioral change for the travel industry, regarding both the business travel and the leisure travel, after the entire COVID-19 is being settled? How would you expect the way business and the way leisure travelers will behave differently going forward? The second question on the sector is about the competition landscape. With 2019, actually the focus on the investor was on some of the new entrants into the China market and some of the mid- to smaller chain players seen — turning a lot more aggressive in going into expansion. How do you see this landscape in 2020 and ’21? The last one is actually on Deutsche Hospitality. How would management guide in terms of the EBITDA contribution for this segment, for this newly acquired company in 2020? Given the operating leverage, how should investors think about the contribution?
Answer – Yu Ida: Sorry. Justin, let me translate the questions to our management here. (foreign language)
Answer – Qi Ji: (foreign language)
Answer – Xinxin Liu: (foreign language)
Answer – Yu Ida: Okay. So sorry. Ms. Liu has several — sorry. She — let me just translate the first part of her answer.
[Interpreted] So before the COVID-19, I think the pattern of the business traveler and leisure traveler remained the same. During the pandemic, yes, we have to say the traffic of business travelers did slow down because the business activity has been stopped. However, the demand of local customers did rise. And at Huazhu, we have the full-scale sales capability. No matter it’s online and off-line, we combine them together. Just like what Jin Hui mentioned before, we equipped our local sales with IT equipments. We also promote all staff sales among the organization.
Answer – Xinxin Liu: (foreign language)
Answer – Yu Ida: [Interpreted] So we will further develop our corporate sales activities towards business travelers’ need. And we also anticipate the rise of leisure demand in upcoming April. And in short, we will utilize all kinds of tools to grasp — grab all the sales opportunities.
Answer – Hui Jin: (foreign language)
Answer – Yu Ida: [Interpreted] So first of all, as we mentioned before in the presentation, the scale effect and also the chain capability will really make the leading companies like us stand out during the pandemic.
Answer – Hui Jin: (foreign language)
Answer – Yu Ida: [Interpreted] Huazhu is advantaged in terms of our high efficiency and cost control, which will further stand out in the future competition compared to the high-cost operator.
Answer – Hui Jin: (foreign language)
Answer – Yu Ida: [Interpreted] And we are very positive about our growth potential in the next 3 years. Our target is open 10,000 hotels in 1,000 cities. I’m very pleased to report that we have already signed up 300-over hotels, no matter it’s a hard brand and soft brand, in our network in Q1.
Answer – Xinxin Liu: Jenny?
Answer – Qi Ji: (foreign language)
Answer – Min Zhang: (foreign language) Hello, can you hear me?
Answer – Yu Ida: Yes, Jenny. We can hear you.
Answer – Min Zhang: Okay, yes. DH, as we acquired it, we expect it to contribute significantly to our revenues. Based on its 2019 revenue, pro formally, it would increase. It will account for about 35% of the Huazhu pro forma group revenues. So it was expected to be a major revenue contributor. However, because most of their hotels are on the lease model, their margins is much lower than our China operations, so the profit contribution expectation was only around 5% to 10%. This year, with the COVID-19 situation, it’s a little bit unpredictable, but our German team, the European team, is also doing their best to fight for protecting our customers and our staff and also help the business to sail through the water and expect a rebound when the situation stabilizes. We appreciate the leadership team we have in Europe. And they have done a very good job so far.
MTU AERO ENGINES AG (PR – 3/26)
Munich, March 26, 2020: The executive board of MTU Aero Engines AG (the “Company”) resolved today to withdraw the guidance for the financial year 2020. The Company’s decision is based on the assessment of market scenarios presently deemed likely, and on a catalogue of expenditure reduction measures. The previous guidance was published on February 20, 2020, already with the reservation to review it during the year due to the Corona pandemic.
Especially due to significant reductions in passenger air traffic and the consequences for airlines, revenues and adjusted EBIT for the financial year 2020 are expected not to grow with a high single digit percentage as forecast. The cash conversion rate, expressing the ratio of free cashflow to net income adjusted, is also likely not to reach the forecast 70 percent in 2020. Due to the dynamic of worldwide developments in the context of COVID-19 a specification of expectations with regard to revenues, adjusted EBIT and especially the cash conversion rate, based on the developments of the coming weeks and the resulting consequences for the Company’s performance, can be made only at a later point in time.
MTU will publish its annual report for the financial year 2019 on March 27, 2020. The predications for the future business development in the financial year 2020 contained in the forecast are based especially on market assessments and estimations at the beginning of the year 2020 which were not regarded obsolete at the time of approval of the annual financial statements on March 17, 2020. In the light of the actual developments such predications cannot be maintained.
MTU closely observes the situation regarding COVID-19 and takes operative precautions to minimize consequences on its financial position, financial performance and cashflows.
BOOKING HOLDINGS (PR – 3/23)
I am also writing to give an update on new actions we are taking in response to COVID-19. As I discussed in my Town Hall video a few weeks ago, this is not the first major disruption to travel we have endured as a business, but the impact of COVID-19 is more than all the previous disruptions I mentioned combined. We know that eventually COVID-19 will no longer dominate our lives and prevent people from traveling, but no one knows for sure when this will happen. This unpredictability requires us to act prudently and put control measures in place to position the company for the long haul. These actions will ensure that we can continue to support our employees, customers and partners through this crisis, and be better positioned for the recovery that we know will come.
Some of the recent measures include:
- Cutting non-essential business travel across our business
- Cancelling internal company events and offsites
- Dramatically reducing marketing spend worldwide
- Implementing a general hiring freeze company-wide until further notice
In addition to the above measures, the brand CEOs (Steve Hafner, John Brown and Brett Keller) and I have made the decision to forego our salaries during this time of the crisis, effective immediately. Our Board of Directors has also voluntarily declined to accept any cash retainer payments during the same time period.
HOST HOTELS & RESORT INC. (8k – 3/20)
Jim Risoleo, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Out of an abundance of caution, we have drawn $1.5 billion under the revolver portion of our Credit Facility providing Host with a total of approximately $2.8 billion of cash as of the date of this 8-K filing. We continue to maximize our financial flexibility as the duration and magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on global travel demand remain uncertain. We are pleased to have executed a prudent and disciplined capital allocation strategy that prioritized creating significant balance sheet capacity and liquidity in recent years and expect our judicious capital allocation decisions to benefit all our stakeholders in the long-term.”
Mr. Risoleo continued, “Our world-class operators, including Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton, have coordinated with us to develop detailed cost-cutting contingency plans to eliminate unnecessary costs at each of our hotels. These plans are tailored to address the specific operational needs of each property and are expected to significantly reduce Host’s operating costs through this period of uncertainty.”
INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL GROUP (8k – 3/20)
Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG, said: “At this unprecedented time, our top priority remains the health and wellbeing of our guests, colleagues and partners, and ensuring that in light of such a significant impact on the global economy and, in particular, on the travel industry, we take the right steps to protect the long-term health of our business.
Demand for hotels is currently at the lowest levels we’ve ever seen. IHG has a robust business model and the measures we are announcing today to reduce costs and preserve cash give us the capacity to manage the business through this unique environment and to support our owners during this incredibly difficult time.
These were not easy choices and we are mindful of the impact these decisions will have on our colleagues and shareholders. However, we believe that these are essential to ensuring that we come out of this as strong as we possibly can and ready to capitalise on what remains an industry with excellent long-term growth potential.”
DELTA (8k – 3/20)
It has been an extraordinary few weeks, to say the least, for our business, our nation and our world. Just over a month ago we were celebrating a record Profit-Sharing Day; today we face the greatest economic challenge in our history as the world grapples with the growing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
I want to thank the more than 13,000 people who have stepped up to take voluntary unpaid leaves – this is the most important thing anyone can do right now to support Delta. While I’m grateful to the thousands that have volunteered, we could use more, so please seriously consider whether this is the right short-term decision for you and your family.
Earlier this week I outlined the serious threat to our business and the difficult actions we’re taking over the next few months to protect our company. Our revenue outlook continues to deteriorate in the short term with the decline in travel demand. We’re now projecting our June quarter revenues will be down by $10 billion compared to a year ago – an 80 percent reduction. It’s also clear, given the underlying damage the virus has created to the overall economy, that demand recovery will take an extended period once the virus is contained.
In light of the unprecedented challenges facing us, we have entered into a $2.6 billion secured credit facility and are drawing down $3 billion under our existing revolving credit facilities. This will help fortify our cash position in the coming weeks and months. To put this in context, despite all the self-help measures we are taking, we are currently burning roughly $50 million in cash each day.
We also continue working with the President and Congress on disaster relief assistance, which is vital to protect our industry’s critical role in our nation’s economy. Amid those discussions, in recent days some critics have argued that the airlines have not been good stewards of our money during our profitable years. At Delta, nothing could be further from the truth. Our philosophy has always been a simple one: We put 50 percent of our operating cash flow back into our business by investing in our people and our customers, use 30 percent to pay down debt, and return 20 percent to our owners.
In fact, over the past five years Delta has invested over $20 billion in new aircraft, airport enhancements, technology and customer service improvements; and invested $19 billion in our people via profit-sharing and pension contributions and payments. In addition, we increased base pay by 30 percent during that period and regained the confidence of the financial markets by earning back our investment-grade credit rating. When the extent of the COVID-19 crisis became clear, we immediately suspended our share repurchases, and our Board of Directors has voted to suspend future dividend payments.
BOEING (8k – 3/19)
As we encounter the Covid-19 crisis, Boeing, along with many other companies, face another major set of challenges. I want to be part of helping the company as it pushes through it. However, the board and executive team are going in a direction I cannot support.
While I know cash is tight, that is equally true for numerous other industries and for millions of small businesses. I cannot support a move to lean on the federal government for a stimulus or bailout that prioritizes our company over others and relies on taxpayers to guarantee our financial position. I have long held strong convictions that this is not the role of government.
I strongly believe that when one is part of a team, and one cannot in good faith support the direction of the team, then the proper thing to do is to resign. As such, I hereby resign my position from the Boeing Board.
I hope you all know that I will continue to be a strong supporter of Boeing and its workforce. All of you have taught me so much over the past year. Serving with each and every one of you has been a privilege. I value the friendships I have made with all of you.
If I can ever be of help or service to the Boeing team in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
My very best,
Nikki R. Haley
MARRIOTT (Business Update Call – 3/19)
The coronavirus or COVID-19 is fast becoming the most significant event to ever impact our business and that includes the 12-month period after 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2009. While the situation is changing by the day, we felt it important to update our key stakeholders on what we’ve seen to-date and detail the numerous steps we are taking to address and mitigate the negative impact on our business during this complex and unprecedented global crisis.
Let me start with what we’ve seen recently. While the first two months of the year saw a solid RevPAR growth in every region except for Asia-Pacific, the virus spread has clearly caused that picture to change dramatically over the last few weeks. In the Asia-Pacific region, which first saw the effects of COVID-19 in mid-January, RevPAR declined nearly 25% year-over-year through February with Greater China down 52% and RevPAR for the rest of the Asia-Pacific region down more than 8%.
So far in March as workers return to their jobs and regional travel resumes, albeit slowly, occupancy rates in China are beginning to rise. We’ve gone from over 90 hotels in Greater China closed at the height of the outbreak to under-30 closed today. It is encouraging to see the trend lines in China and the entire Asia-Pacific region starting to improve.
However as the virus has spread, there has been a sudden sharp decline in demand throughout the rest of the world and RevPAR at our hotels has dropped dramatically. Over the last few days occupancy rates in North America and Europe were under 25%, compared to around 70% a year ago. The crisis outside of the Asia-Pacific region is much more recent and the trends are still negative. Unfortunately, the situation will likely continue to get worse before it gets better. We do not expect to see a material improvement until there is a sense that the spread of the virus has moderated.
We continue to work with our customers to navigate this crisis. While there have been historically high levels of cancellations for stays through the first half of this year, there have not been a meaningful number of group cancellations for 2021 related to COVID-19, and many group customers are at least tentatively rebooking for dates in the second half of this year.
DELTA (Business Update Call – 3/18)
Following the national emergency that was declared by the U.S. President, demand for travel has dropped significantly. Revenue for the month of March is now expected to decline by almost $2 billion over last year, with our projection for April falling even more. Therefore, we will continue to make significant capacity reductions with a 70 percent systemwide pullback planned until demand starts to recover. Our international operation will take the largest reduction, with over 80 percent of flying reduced over the next two to three months.
We are having constructive discussions with the White House and Congress, and remain optimistic that our industry will receive support to help address this crisis. That said, we have to continue to take all necessary self-help measures. Cash preservation remains our top financial priority right now. Making swift decisions now to reduce the losses and preserve cash will provide us the resources to rebound from the other side of this crisis and protect Delta’s future.
AIRBUS (PR – 3/17)
Following the implementation of new measures in France and Spain to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbus has decided to temporarily pause production and assembly activities at its French and Spanish sites across the Company for the next four days. This will allow sufficient time to implement stringent health and safety conditions in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing, while improving the efficiency of operations under the new working conditions. In those countries, the Company will also continue to maximise homeworking wherever possible.
These measures will be implemented locally in coordination with the social partners. Airbus is also working together with its customers and suppliers to minimise the impact of this decision on their operations.
Airbus continuously updates its workplace safety and travel recommendations to employees, customers and visitors, according to the latest developments.
UNITED AIRLINES (PR – 3/17)
United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) CEO, Oscar Munoz and president J. Scott Kirby have issued a message to United’s nearly 100,000 employees regarding the impact of the coronavirus on the company’s business and the steps the airline is taking to manage it, the company said.
The statement addressed the impact of the virus on United’s business has become worse with the new travel restrictions for the UK and Ireland. Munoz and Kirby said they feel an obligation to run the company in a way that protects the employees and to be open about the decisions facing the airlines.
The United leaders acknowledged March as its busiest month of the year, but is projecting that revenue in March 2020 will be USD 1.5 billion lower than last March.
United has taken steps to manage the crisis by reducing schedules, imposing a hiring freeze, introducing a voluntary leave program, reducing discretionary spending, cutting the CEO base by 100% and deferring a salary increase. Competitors have started to follow suit.
AVIS BUDGET GROUP (PR – 3/17)
NEW YORK (S&P Global Ratings) —S&P Global Ratings today took the rating actions listed above. The sharp decline in air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic will hurt demand for car rentals at airports, the largest part of Avis Budget’s business. Further, the pandemic and government actions to combat it will hurt economic activity, an effect likely to linger after cases of the virus decline. Car renters have some flexibility to respond to sharp demand shocks and have done so in the past. During the period following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. car rental industry was able to downsize its fleet by around 20% in the following month by returning cars to the auto manufacturers under agreements that allowed such returns as long as certain conditions were met. However, most of Avis Budget’s vehicles today are not covered under these agreements, which could cause oversupply and thus pressure on used car prices.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES (8K – 3/16)
The Company is withdrawing its previous 2020 financial guidance due to the rapidly changing environment as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, and is providing the following updates.
The Company has experienced more dramatic declines in passenger bookings in March and second quarter 2020, as well as an unprecedented increase in close-in trip cancellations. The Company has recently experienced several days of net negative bookings, primarily in March and April 2020, where trip cancellations outpaced new passenger bookings. The Company’s month-to-date load factor through March 15, 2020, was approximately 67 percent, with recent days trending toward 50 percent. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grows, and based on current booking and cancellation trends, we expect revenue trends for the remainder of March and second quarter 2020 to deteriorate further.
Given the continued uncertainty of revenue trends attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company has taken several actions to help manage the near-term financial impacts. The Company will soon reduce its published flight schedules, which will reduce available seat miles (ASMs, or capacity) by at least 20 percent for the time period April 14, 2020 through June 5, 2020. These flight schedule reductions are in addition to the Company’s existing capacity impact due to the Boeing 737 MAX groundings. The Company continues to evaluate further flight schedule reductions.
The Company is also instituting a hiring freeze; offering voluntary leave options for Employees; and aggressively evaluating all capital spending, discretionary spending, and all non-essential costs for near-term cost reductions or deferrals.
The Company’s investment-grade balance sheet and long-standing financial health has provided ready access to capital markets and bank financing. As announced recently, the Company issued $500 million of unsecured debt. As discussed in Item 2.03 above, on March 12, 2020, the Company entered into a $1.0 billion term loan credit facility agreement. In addition, as discussed in Item 2.03 above, the Company has drawn down the full $1.0 billion under its $1.0 billion revolving credit facility expiring in August 2022. Including these financing transactions, the Company’s current unrestricted cash balance is estimated to be approximately $6.2 billion. The Company currently has approximately 525 unencumbered aircraft valued at approximately $10 billion.
Upon completion of its current share repurchase program, the Company will have approximately $765 million remaining under its May 2019 $2.0 billion share repurchase authorization, and will suspend further share repurchases.
As it is difficult for the Company to estimate the duration and severity of the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company is actively pursuing additional opportunities to preserve cash, bolster liquidity, and improve its near-term working capital position to protect its business and restore long-term financial strength.
AIR CANADA (IR Circulars – 3/16)
MONTREAL, March 16, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada, along with the rest of the global airline industry, is facing a severe drop in traffic and a corresponding decline in revenue as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and travel restrictions imposed in many countries around the world, including Canada and the United States. Although the company expects this disruption to be temporary, as the full impact and duration of the outbreak is unknown, Air Canada is withdrawing its previously announced first quarter and full year 2020 guidance as well as its full year 2021 guidance (including its free cash flow guidance for the 2019-2021 period) while it takes steps to mitigate the financial impact on its business.
“COVID-19 presents the global airline industry with unprecedented challenges, compounded by uncertainty as to the extent of its effects. However, we are confident that after a decade of transformation and record results, Air Canada today has the agility, the team and the route network to successfully navigate through this crisis. Most importantly for business continuity, it also has the necessary financial resources, including a solid balance sheet, record liquidity levels, higher debt ratings based on a low leverage ratio, and a significant pension plan surplus. These deep strengths enable us to fully focus our immediate attention on both the safety and well-being of our customers and our employees and on mitigating the financial impact of the virus,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada
INTERNATIONAL CONSOLIDATED AIRLINES GROUP (PR – 3/16)
The rapid spread of COVID-19, and associated government travel restrictions and advisories are having a significant and increasingly negative impact on the demand for global air traffic on almost all routes operated by IAG’s airlines.
To date IAG has suspended flights to China, reduced capacity on Asian routes, cancelled all flights to, from and within Italy and made various changes to our network.
The US Presidential announcement to restrict entry of foreign nationals who have been in countries in the Schengen Area, the UK and Ireland has added to the uncertainty on North Atlantic routes. In addition, many other countries have banned or are restricting inward travel including Argentina, Chile, India and Peru. Spain has also been the subject of travel advisories, for example by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
IAG is implementing further initiatives in response to this challenging market environment. Capacity, in terms of available seat kilometres, in the first quarter of 2020 is now expected to be reduced by around 7.5 per cent compared to last year. For April and May, the Group plans to reduce capacity by at least 75 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
IAG is also taking actions to reduce operating expenses and improve cash flow. These include grounding surplus aircraft, reducing and deferring capital spending, cutting non-essential and non-cyber related IT spend, freezing recruitment and discretionary spending, implementing voluntary leave options, temporarily suspending employment contracts and reducing working hours.
Given the continued uncertainty on the potential impact and duration of COVID-19, it is still not possible to give accurate profit guidance for the full year 2020.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES (IR Circulars – 3/16)
Since the start of February 2020, the SIA Group has progressively announced flight cuts
across the network as it adjusts capacity to match demand changes arising from the
spread of COVID-19 across the globe. Market conditions have continued to deteriorate in
March and, with WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic and multiple countries issuing travel
advisories and restrictions, travel demand is expected to weaken significantly in the near
RYANAIR (6K – 3/16)
Over the past week, the spread of the Covid-19 virus and associated Government travel restrictions, many of which have been imposed without notice, have had a significant and negative impact on the schedules of all Ryanair Group Airlines.
Over the past 7 days, Italy, Malta, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Greece, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Norway and Cyprus have imposed flight bans of varying degrees, from all flights to/from the country, or banned flights to/from countries with high risk of Covid infection. Over the weekend for example, Poland and Norway have banned all international flights, while in other countries (without travel bans) there has been severe reduction of ATC and essential airport services.
CARNIVAL CORPORATION (8K – 3/16)
Due to the spread and recent developments, including growing port restrictions around the world, related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Corporation previously announced a voluntary and temporary pause of its fleet cruise operations by its continental Europe and North American brands. Subsequently, the Corporation implemented a temporary pause of its global fleet cruise operations across all brands. Each brand has separately announced the duration of its pause. Significant events affecting travel, including COVID-19, typically have an impact on booking patterns, with the full extent of the impact generally determined by the length of time the event influences travel decisions. The Corporation believes the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on its global bookings and operations will have a material negative impact on its financial results and liquidity. The Corporation is taking additional actions to improve its liquidity, including capital expenditure and operating expense reductions, and pursuing additional financing. Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Corporation is currently unable to provide an earnings forecast, however we expect results of operations for the fiscal year ending November 30, 2020 to result in a net loss.
EXPEDIA (8K – 3/13)
SEATTLE, WA – March 13, 2020 – Expedia Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) announced today that it is withdrawing its full-year 2020 Adjusted EBITDA guidance due to the growing impact from the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting uncertainty on travel trends. With the outbreak spreading significantly since Expedia’s fourth quarter earnings call on February 13, 2020, we now expect the negative impact in the first quarter related to COVID-19 to be in excess of the $30-$40 million range provided at that time.
“As COVID-19 has rapidly spread from Asia to Europe and North America over the past few weeks, travel trends have continued to worsen. It remains difficult to predict how long this pandemic will persist, and given the lack of visibility on our trends we’ve decided to withdraw our 2020 guidance,” said Chairman Barry Diller and Vice Chairman Peter Kern.
HUDSON LTD (Earnings Call – 3/11)
Looking forward to 2020, we wanted to share with you what we have seen in traffic and sales trends year-to-date. In the first weeks of January, prior to the impact of the coronavirus, our sales increased slightly year-over-year despite the loss of New Orleans store closures in November last year. In the second half of January, as the coronavirus spread beyond China, we began to see lower traffic in our North American markets that extended into February, with sales down approximately 10%. We believe that based on the trends we’re currently seeing, the net sales in Q1 2020 will decline by low to mid-teens year-over-year.
Given the widening spread of the coronavirus and its related impact on travel, both business and personal, we expect continued pressure on traffic and sales in the near term. As we can’t currently estimate the duration of the future trajectory of travel disruption, we don’t believe it’s prudent to provide the full year outlook at this time. We do, however, remain optimistic about the stronger pipeline of RFPs this year and our improved competitive position. We expect to close our OHM acquisition early Q2 and to leverage the food and beverage business to drive sales momentum in 2020 and beyond, supported by the benefit of our Brookstone acquisition. We feel great about our ability to execute against the things that are in our control, including implementing efficiency initiatives to ensure disciplined cost management in response to the sales trends.
BOC AVIATION LTD (Earnings Call – 3/11)
In 2020, we are receiving requests from some of our customers for assistance as passenger demand and, therefore, airline revenue is affected by COVID-19. We’re a long-term partner to our airline customers, and we will evaluate any such request carefully in light of their cash flow forecasts and in light of the support provided by other stakeholders.
We’ll work with affected customers to find solutions, which we believe will likely involve partial deferrals of rent for 3 months or less with interest payable on overdue amounts or will involve more purchase and leaseback transactions with those customers. In this context, I’d like to remind everyone that we are the owner of our aircraft. We’re a senior creditor of our airline customers and our operating these contracts are well structured. We’re paid rent monthly or quarterly in advance. We collect security deposits, and for many of our customers, we collect security to provide protection against future major maintenance events. At the same time, we’re looking for opportunities to provide liquidity for our customers and to put good new business on our balance sheet. Since the beginning of 2020, we’ve added another 42 aircraft to our order book, comprising 20 A320NEO delivery positions, 10 of which we’ve already placed with an airline customer, and we’ve also executed our largest ever purchase and lease transaction for 22 Boeing 787, which is scheduled for delivery to American Airlines in 2020 and 2021. These transactions illustrate the strength of our global customer reach. It also highlights the way our team contributes to build good long-term business on the strength of our capital structure and our available liquidity.
Having over $5 billion in available liquidity as of today’s date and A- credit ratings positions us well to work with a global customer base and execute new investment opportunities. And with that, I’ll hand it over to Thim Fatt.
HILTON (8K – 3/11)
McLEAN, VA (March 10, 2020) – Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HLT) today announced the withdrawal of its previously announced first quarter and full year 2020 outlook due to the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the global economy.
Christopher J. Nassetta, President & Chief Executive Officer of Hilton, said, “Our first thoughts continue to be with our guests and team members affected by the coronavirus. It is times like these when the world needs our hospitality most, particularly in the communities that have been hit hardest by the outbreak.
“With the coronavirus now spreading beyond China and the Asia Pacific region, and the related increase in travel restrictions and cancellations around the world, we believe that the potential negative impact will be greater than our previous estimate and have decided to withdraw our previously announced guidance. We will provide an update during our first quarter earnings call, based on the information we have available at the time.
“As a 100-year company that takes the long view, we are confident in our resilient business model, the performance of our leading brand portfolio, and our ability to respond appropriately to market conditions.”
DELTA AIRLINES (JPMorgan Aviation, Transportation and Industrials Conference – 3/10)
As the situation has evolved, our first priority has been protecting the health and the safety of our customers and our employees. Our team has significantly increased resources to insuring our aircraft and facilities are clean and exceed our already high safety standards. While our year had gotten off to a strong start, in fact being ahead of plan for the first two months. Two weeks ago, our revenue trajectory changed dramatically as the virus spread meaningfully outside of Asia. Since then, we have seen a 25% to 30% decline in net bookings and are prepared for it to get worse. We expect demand erosion will continue in the near term and a built-up plan that prioritizes free cash flow generation and preserves liquidity
AMERICAN AIRLINES (8K – 3/10)
Due to the heightened uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, its duration and its impact on overall demand for air travel, American Airlines Group Inc. (the “Company”) is withdrawing its 2020 guidance issued on January 23, 2020.
DELTA AIRLINES (8K- 3/10)
In addition to the significant efforts underway to protect the health and safety of its customers and employees, Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is announcing additional steps to address the financial impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
“In the weeks since COVID-19 emerged, Delta people have risen to the challenge, taking every possible action to take care of and protect our customers during a stressful time,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “As the virus has spread, we have seen a decline in demand across all entities, and we are taking decisive action to also protect Delta’s financial position. As a result, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to immediately reduce capacity and are implementing cost reductions and cash flow initiatives across the organization.”
RYANAIR (6K – 3/10)
Ryanair does not expect these traffic reductions to have a material impact on FY20 (31 March 2020) PAT guidance. It is far too early to assess the impact of Covid-19 on FY21 traffic and earnings. The Ryanair Group will continue to focus on delivering cost savings and improved operational efficiency in FY21. Ryanair is one of the strongest airlines in the industry with €4bn in cash, industry leading unit costs, 90% of the fleet is owned with over 70% debt free.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN (8K – 3/10)
The company had previously communicated that its 2020 guidance did not include the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Given the recent government actions and the heightened impact and uncertainty of changes in the magnitude, duration and geographic reach of COVID-19, the company is withdrawing its first quarter and full-year 2020 guidance.
UNITED AIRLINES (8K – 3/10)
United Airlines, Inc. (“United”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (“UAL”, and together with United, the “Company”) has continued to experience a material decline in demand for both international and domestic travel, as well as an increase in trip cancellations, resulting from the spread of coronavirus (“COVID-19”). As such, the Company has taken proactive steps to mitigate the financial and operational impact to the business.
As a result of the decline in demand resulting from COVID-19, in addition to the capacity reductions on the Company’s trans-Pacific routes announced last month, the Company has also announced that it has pulled down 10% of its domestic schedules and 20% of its international schedules in April. The Company also anticipates making reductions in May of at least 20% and plans to proactively evaluate and cancel flights on a rolling 90-day basis until it sees signs of a recovery in demand. The Company’s capacity reductions have been focused on, but not limited to, reducing frequencies in markets with the ability to re-accommodate passengers on other frequencies or through other hubs, destinations in level 3 or level 4 travel advisory regions and surrounding areas and routes performing significantly below the system average.
AIR NEW ZEALAND – (PR – 3/10)
Due to increased uncertainty surrounding the duration and scale of the Covid-19 outbreak, Air New Zealand has today announced that it will be withdrawing the full year 2020 earnings guidance it issued to the market on 24 February 2020 and reconfirmed at its interim results announcement on 27 February 2020.
Air New Zealand has taken numerous steps to mitigate the impact of reduced demand resulting from Covid-19, including reducing capacity on its Asia, Tasman and Domestic networks, redeploying its fuel efficient 787 Dreamliner fleet to drive operational efficiencies and using tactical pricing to stimulate demand on the impacted sectors. However, the airline now believes that the financial impact is likely to be more significant than previously estimated and with the situation evolving at such a rapid pace, the airline is not in a position to provide an earnings outlook to the market at this time. An update on earnings expectations will be provided when appropriate
QANTAS AIRLINES (IR Circulars – 3/9)
Announcing the changes, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, said: “In the past fortnight we’ve seen a sharp drop in bookings on our international network as the global coronavirus spread continues.
“We expect lower demand to continue for the next several months, so rather than taking a piecemeal approach we’re cutting capacity out to mid-September. This improves our ability to reduce costs as well as giving more certainty to the market, customers and our people.
BOOKING HOLDINGS (8K – 3/9)
“As we explained when we provided first quarter 2020 guidance during our fourth quarter earnings announcement on February 26, 2020, the circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak are changing rapidly and our guidance was based on the information we had at the time. As the situation has worsened and the negative impact on travel demand has increased since we provided guidance, in particular more broadly across Europe and in North America, we have decided to withdraw that guidance. Given the rapidly evolving situation, we are unable at this time to reliably quantify the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our future financial results. We plan to provide more information during our first quarter earnings call based on the information we have available at that time.”
Mr. Fogel continued, “While the full impact and duration of the COVID-19 outbreak is unknown at this time, we have been through travel disruptions in the past and expect that this disruption will ultimately be temporary. We believe the company has a strong operating model and solid balance sheet, which will enable us to weather this disruption. We remain confident in our long-term prospects and strategy, and we will continue to manage the company in a measured way to build value for the long term. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation and support our customers, partners and employees during this difficult time. Our thoughts remain with the people impacted by this outbreak.”
HOST HOTELS (8K – 3/9)
Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: HST), the nation’s largest lodging real estate investment trust (the “Company”), today announced it is withdrawing its full-year 2020 guidance due to the ongoing financial impact of reduced travel demand as a result of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
VAIL RESORTS (8K – 3/9)
Regarding the Company’s outlook, Katz said, “Given the uncertainty surrounding the impact of the coronavirus on the broader U.S. travel market and any specific impact to the performance of our Company, we are not issuing guidance at this time for fiscal 2020 and are withdrawing our previous guidance issued on January 17, 2020. In the week ended March 8, 2020, we saw a marked negative change in performance from the prior week, with destination skier visits modestly below expectations. We expect this trend to continue and potentially worsen in upcoming weeks.”
TRIVAGO (20F – 3/6)
Many events beyond our control can adversely affect the travel industry, with a corresponding negative impact on our business and results of operations. Natural disasters, including hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, as well as other natural phenomena, such as outbreaks of the Zika virus, the Ebola virus, avian flu and, most recently, a novel strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, as well as other pandemics and epidemics, have disrupted normal travel patterns and levels in the past. We believe that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak will have a negative impact on our global business volumes in 2020. The travel industry is also sensitive to events that may discourage travel, such as work stoppages or labor unrest, political instability, regional hostilities, increases in fuel prices, imposition of taxes or surcharges by regulatory authorities, travel-related accidents and terrorist attacks or threats. We do not have insurance coverage against loss or business interruption resulting from war and terrorism, and we may be unable to fully recover any losses we sustain due to other factors beyond our control under our existing insurance coverage. The occurrence of any of the foregoing events may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
ITV.GB (Earnings Call – 3/5)
Total advertising is expected to be up 2% in Q1. This is the third quarter of growth, and we are seeing double-digit growth in online and partnerships revenues. Early indications suggest that total ad revenue will be down 10% in April. In March and April, we have seen an impact from travel advertising deferments relating to the coronavirus. All deferments to date are included in our guidance.
AERCAP HOLDINGS (20F – 3/5)
Such events are likely to cause our lessees to incur higher costs and to generate lower revenues, which could result in a material adverse effect on their financial condition and liquidity, including their ability to make rental and other lease payments to us or to obtain the types and amounts of insurance we require. This in turn could lead to aircraft groundings or additional lease restructurings and repossessions, increase our cost of re-leasing or selling aircraft, impair our ability to re-lease or otherwise dispose of aircraft on favorable terms or at all, or reduce the proceeds we receive for our aircraft in a disposition.
The effects of epidemic diseases, such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, and natural disasters, such as extreme weather conditions, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, may adversely affect the demand for air travel, the financial condition of our lessees and of the aviation industry more broadly, and ultimately our financial condition, results and cash flows.
SUNSTONE HOTEL INVESTORS (8K Update – 3/5)
IRVINE, CA – March 5, 2020 – Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. (the “Company” or “Sunstone”) (NYSE: SHO), the owner of Long-Term Relevant Real Estate® in the hospitality sector, today announced that due to uncertainty related to the ultimate impact on travel demand resulting from the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the Company is withdrawing its first quarter and full-year 2020 guidance.
On February 18, 2020, as part of the Company’s full-year 2019 earnings report, Sunstone provided first quarter and full-year 2020 guidance for certain operational and earnings metrics. Included in this guidance was approximately $1 million of lost revenue resulting primarily from known group customer cancelations related to COVID-19. Since the time this guidance was provided, the Company has experienced a material increase in expected lost revenue from group customer cancelations, which, as of today’s date, have increased to approximately $11 million. The majority of the lost revenue is related to business that was scheduled to occur in March 2020. The Company believes that the impact from these trends will most likely result in the Company failing to achieve the previously provided first quarter guidance for net income, comparable portfolio RevPAR growth, Adjusted EBITDAre, Adjusted FFO, and Adjusted FFO per diluted share. The impact of COVID-19 on travel demand continues to evolve and the Company is currently not able to accurately assess the financial impact on its full-year operations. As such, the full-year guidance previously provided on February 18, 2020 should no longer be relied upon.
John Arabia, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Since the time of our earnings call, we have witnessed a sizeable increase in both group cancelations and corporate travel policy restrictions related to COVID-19, both of which are expected to reduce our near-term occupancy and hotel revenues. As a result, we are unlikely to achieve our first quarter 2020 guidance. Furthermore, as we are currently unable to quantify the full-year impact of COVID-19 on hotel operating fundamentals, we believe it is prudent to withdraw our previously provided full-year guidance. As the situation evolves, we will continue to assess the expected impact of COVID-19 on our operations and earnings, while working to protect the hotel employees and guests.”
DESCARTES SYSTEMS (6K – 3/5)
As we continue to increase our international operations we increase our exposure to international business risks that could cause our operating results to suffer.
While our headquarters are in Canada, we currently have direct operations in the U.S., EMEA, Asia Pacific and South American regions. We anticipate that these international operations will continue to require significant management attention and financial resources to localize our services and products for delivery in these markets, to develop compliance expertise relating to international regulatory agencies, and to develop direct and indirect sales and support channels in those markets. We face a number of risks associated with conducting our business internationally that could negatively impact our operating results. These risks include, but are not limited to:
|•||The risk of travel advisories or travel restrictions related to the outbreak of contagious illnesses, such as the coronavirus that is currently impacting China and other geographies, which could impact our ability to operate in certain markets and/or manage our operations in those markets;|
DELTA – (Prospectus – 3/4)
In 2003, an outbreak of a coronavirus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) originating in China became an epidemic and resulted in a slowdown of passenger air traffic due contagion fears. With RPK growth being cut in half, widebody aircraft values took a brief hit due to oversupply in the market as airlines tried to cut capacity. Impact on values was minor and short-lived; however, a new, recently discovered coronavirus, also originating from China, may have a similar impact on RPK growth and aircraft pricing. The first case of the new virus was linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China, with the first person reported ill in December 2019. By the end of January 2020, several countries confirmed the illness had reached their borders including to the U.S., Australia, Japan, Canada, France, and Germany plus several Southeast Asian countries. With asymptomatic patients being able to spread the virus, the Chinese government has quarantined Wuhan and several surrounding cities, essentially cutting off transportation links to around 35 million people. Several countries are weighing whether to close their borders with China to suppress the spread of the virus despite a significant impact on their economies, and many have limited travel to China. As news of the virus spreads, markets have fluctuated, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 1.6% on January 27, 2020, and markets in South Korea and Japan dropping nearly 3.0% the next day. However, U.S. markets were back to record highs by early February. How much of an impact this will have on air travel globally remains to be seen, though with the epidemic occurring over the Chinese Lunar New Year, it would not be surprising to see RPK growth in 2020 fall below previous forecasts.
LUFTHANSA – (PR – 3/4)
German airline giant Lufthansa said Wednesday it would ground 150 of its more than 750 planes worldwide, days after announcing a slimmed-down timetable over the effects of the novel coronavirus.
“25 long-haul aircraft and 125 short- and medium-haul aircraft” will no longer fly, a spokesman for the group also including carriers Eurowings, Austrian and Swiss told AFP.
Shares in Lufthansa have plunged in recent days as the likely impact of the COVID-19 disease on the aviation sector in particular has become clearer.
BROWN-FORMAN (Earnings Call – 3/4)
While we experienced some improvement in the quarter and had anticipated further improvement in the fourth quarter, resulting from the phasing of certain customer purchases, we now estimate that as a result of the coronavirus, our Travel Retail business for the full year will be down similar to year-to-date performance. Our used barrel business declined significantly in the third quarter. The decline in this business reflects both a reduction in demand due in part to the U.S. tariff impact on Single Malt Scotch Whisky; and secondly, softening prices driven by the increased supply of the used barrels in the market. This business and our other non-branded business, which includes contract bottling and bulk whiskey and bulk wine sales, have negatively affected our underlying net sales year-to-date by about 1 percentage point.
GENERAL ELECTRIC (IR Presentation – 3/4)
Focus: COVID-19 as of today
Impact – too early to assess full-year 2020
- Estimated $(0.3)-$(0.5)B FCF* & $(0.2)-$(0.3)B operating profit impact in 1Q
- Impact embedded in 1Q estimates of ~$(2)B FCF* & ~$0.10 adjusted EPS*
RYANAIR – (6K – 3/2)
Ryanair remains one of the strongest airlines in the industry with €4bn in cash on its balance sheet, industry leading unit costs, 90% of the fleet is owned, and is mainly debt free. We expect that this Covid-19 Virus will result in further EU airline failures over the coming weeks.
Ryanair Group CEO, Michael O’Leary said:
“Our focus at this time is on minimising any risk to our people and our passengers. While we are heavily booked over the next two weeks, there has been a notable drop in forward bookings towards the end of Mar, into early Apr. It makes sense to selectively prune our schedule to and from those airports where travel has been most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
DIRECT LINE INSURANCE (Annual Report – 3/2)
In addition, the Coronavirus outbreak (specifically the disease COVID-19) has the potential to impact the 2020 result of our Travel business. We have Travel reinsurance protection to mitigate the cost of an event over a 28 day period to £1 million up to a limit of £10 million. The full coverage, if utilised, can be reinstated once on the same terms. Currently, incurred claims are around £1 million. Like all businesses, we are subject to the consequences of disruption to financial markets and global supply chains which, over time, could impact the performance of our investments and the cost and speed of fulfilling customers’ claims
FLEETCOR TECHNOLOGIES (10K – 3/2)
When travel is severely curtailed across a geographic region during adverse weather conditions, or as a result of a natural catastrophe or public health crises, the number and amount of transactions we process can be significantly diminished, particularly in our fleet business, and revenue can materially decline. For example, during parts of January 2014, severe winter weather shut down a large portion of the eastern U.S. Natural catastrophes such as hurricanes in east Texas (Hurricane Harvey) and in Florida (Hurricane Irma), each in 2017, wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018 and in Colorado in 2012 and flooding in Arkansas in 2019, had similar effects on a more local basis. In December 2019 and January 2020, an outbreak of COVID-19, a new strain of coronavirus in Wuhan, China has resulted in travel disruption and has effected certain companies’ operations in China, although, at this point, the extent to which the coronavirus may impact our results is uncertain. Prolonged adverse weather events or travel bans due to medical quarantine or in response to natural catastrophes, especially those that impact regions in which we process a large number and amount of payment transactions, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
NEWELL BRANDS (10K – 3/2)
In addition, our global operations expose us to risks associated with public health crises, such as pandemics and epidemics, which could harm our business and cause our operational results to suffer. For example, in December 2019 and January 2020, an outbreak of a new strain of Coronavirus in Wuhan, China, has resulted in travel disruption and an impact on corporate operations in China. At this point, the exact extent to which the Coronavirus may impact our supply chain or results of operations is uncertain; however, our revenues may be impacted in the first half of 2020.
AIR NEW ZEALAND – (PR – 2/27)
While the situation is uncertain, based on current assumptions of lower demand as well as the benefit of the announced capacity reductions and lower jet fuel prices, the airline currently expects a net negative impact to earnings in the range of $35 million to $75 million as a result of Covid-19.
At the midpoint of the estimated range above, which is approximately $55 million, the airline is targeting earnings before other significant items and taxation to be in a range of approximately $300 million to $350 million.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE (10K – 2/27)
Public perception about the safety of travel and adverse publicity related to passenger or crew illness, such as incidents of viral illnesses, stomach flu or other contagious diseases may impact demand for cruises and result in cruise cancellations and employee absenteeism. For example, the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has resulted in costs and lost revenue related to customer compensation, itinerary modifications, travel restrictions and advisories, the unavailability of ports and/or destinations, cancellations and redeployments and has impacted consumer sentiment regarding cruise travel. The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, particularly in North America, could exacerbate its effect on us. Any future wide-ranging health scares would also likely adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
MGM RESORTS (10K – 2/27)
Leisure and business travel, especially travel by air, are particularly susceptible to global geopolitical events, such as terrorist attacks, other acts of violence or acts of war or hostility or the outbreak of infectious diseases. We are dependent on the willingness of our customers to travel by air. Since most of our customers travel by air to our Las Vegas and Macau properties, any terrorist act or other acts of violence, outbreak of hostilities, escalation of war, or any actual or perceived threat to the security of travel by air could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, the outbreak of infectious diseases, such as the recent coronavirus, may severely disrupt domestic and international travel. For instance, the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in several countries, including United States, issuing travel warnings and suspending flights to and from China. In addition, on February 4, 2020, the Hong Kong SAR government temporarily suspended all ferry service from Hong Kong to Macau, until further notice. We are unable to predict the extent to which disruptions to travel as a result of the coronavirus will impact our results of operations but we expect that the current disruption will have an adverse effect on MGM China’s results of operations for the first quarter of 2020 and potentially thereafter. Furthermore, although we have been able to purchase some insurance coverage for certain types of terrorist acts, insurance coverage against loss or business interruption resulting from war and some forms of terrorism continues to be unavailable.
DIAGEO (6K – 2/26)
Public health measures across impacted countries in Asia Pacific, principally in China, have resulted in: restrictions on public gatherings, the postponement of events and the closure of many hospitality and retail outlets. Several countries and many businesses have also imposed restrictions on travel.
It is difficult to predict the duration and extent of any further spread of the COVID-19 outbreak both in and outside of Asia. Based on current information we have made assumptions to estimate the fiscal 2020 impact on the performance of the following businesses:
SABRE CORP (8K – 2/26)
As we kick off 2020, a global health crisis related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting travel bookings, but more importantly, the lives of many around the world. The situation continues to evolve, and while we hope its impact will be short-term in nature, Coronavirus will have a material impact on our 2020 financial results. We have not incorporated its impact into our 2020 guidance at this point.”
BOOKING HOLDINGS (10K – 2/26)
As a result of the recent coronavirus outbreak originating in China, we began in January 2020 to experience, and continue to experience, a significant decline in travel demand and increase in customer cancellations predominantly related to travel to, from or in China and certain other Asian markets, though concerns about the coronavirus are also negatively impacting travel demand (and therefore our business) generally. Some countries have implemented travel bans or restrictions and some airlines have suspended or limited flights to or from China. We are working with our travelers and travel service provider partners to address cancellations, requests for refunds, rebookings and similar matters. In addition, like many other companies, we have instructed or allowed employees in high-risk areas to work from home or not report to work, which, especially if this persists for a prolonged period of time, may have an adverse impact on our employees, ability to service travelers, operations and systems. The ultimate extent of the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on travel in currently affected countries or more broadly is unknown and impossible to predict with certainty. As a result, the full extent to which the coronavirus will impact our business and results of operations is unknown. However, decreased travel demand resulting from the outbreak has had a negative impact, and is likely to have a negative and material impact, on our business, growth and results of operations. In addition, we may incur additional customer service costs in connection with servicing travelers affected by the outbreak, which would also have a negative impact on our results of operations.
UNITED AIRLINES (10K – 2/25)
An outbreak of disease or similar public health threat, or fear of such an event, that affects travel demand, travel behavior, or travel restrictions could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s business, financial condition and operating results. In addition, outbreaks of disease could result in increased government restrictions and regulation, including quarantines of our personnel or an inability to access facilities or our aircraft, which could adversely affect our operations.
In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus (“COVID-19”) was reported in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 to constitute a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” On January 30, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 “do not travel” advisory for China. The U.S. government has also implemented enhanced screenings, quarantine requirements and travel restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak. The Company has suspended its flights between the United States and each of Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong through April 24, 2020. These routes represented approximately 5% of the Company’s 2020 planned capacity and the Company’s other trans-Pacific routes represented an additional 10% of the Company’s 2020 planned capacity. As of the date of this report, the Company is experiencing an approximately 100% decline in near-term demand to China and an approximately 75% decline in near-term demand on the rest of the Company’s trans-Pacific routes. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 on the Company’s operational and financial performance will depend on future developments, including the duration and spread of the outbreak and related travel advisories and restrictions and the impact of the COVID-19 on overall demand for air travel, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted. If traffic on the Company’s trans-Pacific routes were to remain at these levels for an extended period, and/or routes in other parts of the Company’s network begin to see significant declines in demand, our results of operations for full year 2020 may be materially adversely affected.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN (10K – 2/25)
The year 2020 has started off challenging as we address the impact of the recent coronavirus outbreak on our operations. Prior to the outbreak, our sailings in China were trending particularly well both in terms of rate and volume. Our itineraries in China were expected to represent 6% and 4% of our full year and first quarter 2020 capacity, respectively. The travel restrictions and other measures taken by China and other countries to contain the disease have resulted in the cancellation of an increasing number of our cruises in the region. We have also implemented several measures restricting the boarding of certain at-risk guests and crew on our ships. These and other concerns and restrictions relating to the coronavirus outbreak are having an impact on the demand for cruises and causing travel restrictions, guest cancellations, an unavailability of ports and/or destinations, ship redeployments and an inability to source our crew, provisions or supplies from certain places. All of these issues are having and are likely to continue to have a material impact on our bookings, operations and our overall financial performance. However, given the fluidity and uncertainty of this situation, we are unable to predict the full financial impact that this incident will have on our operations and financial condition, including what our yields and earnings for 2020 will be.
MASTERCARD – (8K – 2/24)
The fundamentals of our business remain strong, as our switched volume and switched transaction growth remain in-line with our expectations. However, cross-border travel, and to a lesser extent cross-border e-commerce growth, is being impacted by the Coronavirus. As a result, we now expect that if the trends we have seen recently — primarily in our cross-border drivers — continue through the end of the quarter, year-over-year net revenue growth in the first quarter will be approximately 2-3 percentage points lower than discussed on our January 29, 2020 earnings call. Under these circumstances, we would expect year-over-year net revenue growth of 9-10% in the first quarter on a currency-neutral basis, excluding acquisitions.
TELEDYNE (10K – 2/24)
Air travel declines have occurred after terrorist attacks and heightened security alerts, as well as after the high-profile outbreaks of disease, including the recent outbreak and spread of the Wuhan, China-originated Coronavirus. Additional declines in air travel resulting from these factors and other factors could adversely affect the financial condition of many of our commercial airline and aircraft manufacturer customers and, in turn, could adversely affect our Aerospace and Defense Electronics segment. In addition, a prolonged virus epidemic or pandemic, or the threat thereof, could result in worker absences, lower productivity, voluntary closure of our offices and manufacturing facilities, disruptions in our supply chain, travel restrictions on our employees, and other disruptions to our businesses. Moreover, health epidemics may force local health and government authorities to mandate the temporary closure of our offices and manufacturing facilities.
KKR & CO (10K – 2/18)
Political developments, natural disasters, war or threat of war, terrorist attacks, public health crises and other events outside of our control can, and periodically do, materially and adversely impact our portfolio companies and other investments around the world. Our investment strategies target opportunities globally, across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Political instability and extremism, civil unrest and anti-government protests in any region where we have material business operations or investments can, and periodically does, have an adverse impact on our and our portfolio companies’ business results, reputation or license to operate. In addition, occurrence of war or hostilities involving a country in which we have investments or where our portfolio companies operate could adversely affect the operations and valuations of our portfolio companies and investments in such country. Natural disasters, such as extreme weather events, climate change, earthquakes, tsunamis or floods, can also have an adverse impact on certain of our portfolio companies and investments, especially our real asset investments and portfolio companies that rely on physical factories, plants or stores located in the affected areas. As the effects of climate change increase, we expect the frequency and impact of weather and climate related events and conditions to increase as well. For example, unseasonal or violent weather events can have a material impact to businesses or properties that focus on tourism or recreational travel. Public health crises, pandemics and epidemics, such as those caused by new strains of viruses such as H5N1 (avian flu), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and, most recently, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), are also expected to increase as international travel continues to rise, and also directly and indirectly impact us and our portfolio companies in material respects by threatening our and their employees’ well-being and morale, interrupting business activities, supply chains and transactional activities, disrupting travel, and negatively impacting the economies of the affected countries or regions.
EXPEDIA (10K – 2/14)
Because these events or concerns, and the full impact of their effects, are largely unpredictable, they can dramatically and suddenly affect travel behavior by consumers and decrease demand. D ecrease in demand, depending on its scope and duration, together with any future issues affecting travel safety, could significantly and adversely affect our business, working capital and financial performance over the short and long-term. In addition, the disruption of the existing travel plans of a significant number of travelers upon the occurrence of certain events, such as severe weather conditions, actual or threatened terrorist activity, war or travel-related health events, could result in significant additional costs and decrease our revenues leading to constrained liquidity if we, as we have done historically in the case of severe weather conditions and travel-related health events, provide relief to affected travelers by refunding the price or fees associated with airline tickets, hotel reservations and other travel products and services.
With respect to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak specifically, we currently expect that our first quarter 2020 financial results will be negatively impacted, potentially to a material degree. In addition, as of the time of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we expect the 2019 Novel Coronavirus will continue to negatively impact our businesses beyond the first quarter of 2020, but the extent and duration of such impacts over the longer term remain largely uncertain and dependent on future developments that cannot be accurately predicted at this time, such as the severity and transmission rate of the coronavirus, the extent and effectiveness of containment actions taken, including mobility restrictions, and the impact of these and other factors on travel behavior.
ESTEE LAUDER (10Q – 2/6)
While our business is performing well overall, we continue to face strong competition globally and economic challenges in certain countries. We are cautious of the continued decline in retail traffic primarily related to certain brick-and-mortar stores in the United States and the United Kingdom. This is due to the impact of shifts in consumer preferences as to where and how they shop, as well as adverse macroeconomic conditions in the United Kingdom. Our business in Hong Kong continues to be challenged, as the ongoing situation there has negatively impacted traffic in downtown shops and the airport and also led to intermittent store closures. We continue to monitor the geopolitical tensions between the United States and China and the uncertainties caused by the evolving trade policy dispute, which could increase our cost of sales and negatively impact our overall net sales, or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business. We also continue to monitor the potential implications of the ongoing economic and political uncertainties stemming from the United Kingdom’s exit and transition from the European Union (i.e. “Brexit”) and continue developing our risk mitigation strategies to address such uncertainties. These strategies include changes related to regulatory and legislative compliance, assessing alternatives to supply chain routing, revising customer arrangements and analyzing inventory levels. We are monitoring the potential impacts of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus on our global business. After experiencing continued strong momentum into January, we have seen a significant decline in air travel and consumer traffic in key shopping and tourist areas. Although it is difficult to anticipate the full impact of the coronavirus on our business, global travel retail, localities most affected by the virus outbreak and destination markets favored by tourists are expected to experience the greatest negative impact in the coming months followed by a gradual recovery later in the fiscal year. We are also cautious of foreign currency movements, including their impacts on tourism. Additionally, we continue to monitor the effects of the global macroeconomic environment; social and political issues; regulatory matters, including the imposition of tariffs; geopolitical tensions; global health issues and global security issues.
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