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Norwegian Air Shuttle 2019 Fourth Quarter Results

For those who are interested, Q4 earnings came out today. Highlights and observations from the printed report and the video presentation:

  • Cash on hand at the end of Q4 2019 (3.1 billion NOK) is better than at the end of Q4 2018 (1.9 billion NOK) but still not great, especially considering Norwegian sold multiple assets this year to raise cash AND raised cash from investors in Q4. The company still seems to be burning through quite a bit of money, and liquidity is still a bit of an issue. At least it kicked its Q1 bond payment down the road a couple of years, so that is not hanging over its head.
  • Receivables remain high (10.1 billion NOK at the end of 2019 Q4 vs 6.8 billion NOK at the end of 2018 Q4), indicating credit card holdbacks remain high (credit card companies are holding money from purchases until flights are flown so they are not left holding the bag if the airline goes belly up).
  • Norwegian has been talking about bringing more credit card acquirers (who will make funds available more quickly for a fee) on board since the Q2 presentation, but none are online yet due to "delays." There is a promise that one will be online by the end of Q1, "which will give liquidity effect immediately."
  • One billion NOK in liquidity will come in Q1 from the sale of 10 aircraft.
  • Norwegian's loss for the year (EBT) was 1.69 billion NOK.
  • It booked a 1 billion NOK loss due to 737 MAX issues and a 750 million NOK loss due to Rolls Royce engine issues on its Dreamliners. Eighteen MAX's and around 12 Dreamliners are currently parked, the latter for engine issues.
  • Norwegian is and will continue to negotiate with Boeing regarding compensation for the MAX grounding. As for Dreamliner engine issues, "We have found a solution with [Rolls Royce] with regards to compensation. It's not a fantastic solution, but it's a solution we can live with."
  • It is refreshing (and hopeful for Norwegian's future) that CFO Geir Karlsen is commenting on things like Norwegian consolidating all long-haul routes to the Nordic countries at Oslo instead of spreading them across Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm because it enhances profitability.
  • The company is guiding a net profit for 2020, assuming (1) the MAX aircraft return in September, (2) fuel prices stay at current relatively low levels (unlikely), and (3) agreements are reached with Boeing and Rolls Royce for compensation.
  • The goal for the Jet Blue relationship is an interline agreement, which would allow a seamless flying experience with bags checked from departure city all the way through to final destination.
  • New CEO Jacob Schram has a background in retail and is new to the airline business. He has been on the job about 6 weeks and acknowledged that long-haul operations are not profitable. "I don't have the answer on what turns long haul profitable. I just see what Norwegian has done is interesting. Trying to get low costs succeeding on long haul, nobody [has] proven that business model yet, but I see a lot of opportunities that we can do on short term, but then we also need, of course, to think long term, what kind of strategy will bring this to profitability."

Find the report/presentation here:

Posted by
6543 posts

We've flown Norwegian five times internationally. This info shows how they're being fired upon from all directions, and how complicated the airline business can be. We hope the Max situation gets solved because we need good competition in the airline world.

Posted by
2016 posts

One other thing I should mention... Norwegian has shifted it's focus from growth to profitability (which is a needed change!). Toward that end, 4th quarter capacity (as defined by ASK -- available seat kilometer) was slashed 29%. Loads were up considerably. Punctuality has become a focus, too, and on-time performance has improved.

I've only flown Norwegian on an intra-Norway route. I paid extra for an exit row window seat and found their product quite good.

Posted by
5849 posts

We flew Norwegian JFK- LHR on a Dreamliner at Christmastime. No complaints. Their higher level cabin is not Business Class but fine for a daytime flight. We will fly them again.

Posted by
982 posts

I've flown Norwegian on 3 round trips from the SF Bay Area and have a fourth one scheduled in a few months.
They have ended their flights out of Oakland and consolidated all of them to SFO, apparently in an attempt to get more business passengers.
I've noticed that in the last month or so they have been advertising Spring sales so there must be a number of empty seats. (And of course I've had my tickets for months...)
I'm not worried that NA will fold in the near future but I do have concerns for them in a year or two when that dwbt payment comes due.
I've appreciated the ability to find inexpensive fares to Europe and the competition with the legacy carriers has lowered those fares as well.
Thanks, Dave, for posting the summary.