Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB), the Philippines’ leading carrier, reports a P24.9 billion net loss for full year 2021 as it continues to weather through the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEB started 2021 with optimism as vaccination roll out began in March 2021, which paved the way for the government to ease travel regulations. However, as new COVID-19 variants emerged and cases surged, strict lockdowns were once again implemented which tempered growth of CEB’s operational and financial performance.
With 34,463 flights, CEB flew 3 million 4 hundred 11 thousand passengers in 2021, 32% lower than previous year due to a high base in 1st quarter of 2020. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, before the onset of the air travel lockdown in March 2020, Cebu Pacific flew close to 4.4M passengers on about 30,000 flights
CEB generated P15.7 billion in revenues in 2021, 30% below 2020. This was mostly driven by the 50% decline in passenger revenue to P6.3 billion from P12.6B in 2020. Cargo operations, on the other hand, continued to flourish in 2021 as it posted record sales of P6.5 billion, a 20% increase vs 2020.
Despite higher fuel prices, total operating expenses declined by 10% to P38.9B given the limited flying operations, supplemented by the various cost cutting initiatives undertaken such as right-sizing of its network, fleet, and manpower. With these, CEB posted an operating loss of P23.2 billion, 12% bigger than the previous year.
CEB also incurred non-core losses of P1.12 billion, driven primarily by higher peso translation of its US dollar debt and mark to market losses from the derivative value of its convertible bonds, which were partially offset by P1.4 billion gain from aircraft sale and leaseback transactions.
Amidst the losses and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, CEB stayed resilient and ensured its long-term sustainability. Aside from its cost saving initiatives, it successfully raised over $1.6 billion from various fund-raising initiatives. This not only allowed for an even longer liquidity runway but also resulted to a stronger balance sheet with cash balance of P19.6 billion, surpassing even the pre pandemic cash levels.
CEB management is encouraged by strong domestic demand becoming apparent, with bookings steeply increasing over the past few months. With this, CEB anticipates recovery to its pre-covid domestic capacity levels by 2nd quarter of 2022.