Air Partner plc: Ed Warner AGM statement

posted on 15th July 2020 by Eddie Saunders

Air Partner plc, the global aviation services group, holds its Annual General Meeting today. At the meeting, Ed Warner, Chair, will make the following statement: 

“I am pleased to be able to report that Air Partner took early and decisive action during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the Group was well positioned to support our global customers’ emergency aviation needs. As a result, we enjoyed a very strong first five months of the financial year to 30 June 2020, trading significantly ahead of budget with unaudited management accounts showing an expected underlying profit before tax of at least £10.0m. At the end of June, the Group had normalised cash in the bank of £16.0m, excluding significant customer deposits and JetCard cash. The Group also has access to a total debt facility of £14.5m, comprising a £13.0m revolving credit facility (RCF) and a £1.5m overdraft. As at today’s date,  £3.0m of the RCF is utilised. The RCF is due to expire in February 2023. I continue to be extremely impressed by our people worldwide and my thanks go to them for their ongoing hard work during this busy and challenging time.

Our performance to 30 June was predominantly driven by very high levels of COVID-19 related activity in our Group Charter and Freight divisions, including repatriations, corporate shuttles and emergency PPE flying. Redline, our security business which we acquired last December, has also enhanced our ability to fulfil our customers’ diverse requirements during the crisis and offer them holistic solutions. As we enter the second half of our financial year, we are now seeing an adjustment in our business mix as both Private Jets and Safety & Security start to revert to pre-pandemic levels.

Building on our strong start to the year, on 12 June we announced the successful completion of the Placing of new Ordinary Shares in the capital of the Company, raising gross proceeds of £7.5m from both existing and new shareholders, which has enabled the Group to enter the second half of the year with significantly reduced debt and good working capital to invest in organic growth opportunities. I would like to welcome our new investors and thank existing ones for their ongoing support.

In line with our ambition to invest in organic growth opportunities, I am pleased to report that today we have made a separate announcement regarding Air Partner’s entry into the Australian market through its security business Redline to develop and deliver a Security Management System for ISS Australia and New Zealand (ISS). The system will be the first of its kind in Australia, enhancing ISS’s security services across its aviation and transport activities.

To date, the Group’s trading in July has been more normalised and we have seen fewer emergency freight flights and less repatriation work. However, as previously reported, we are encouraged by the level of enquiries we are receiving from our customers returning to our Private Jet and Safety & Security products and we are anticipating a profitable month.

While we are very pleased with our performance to date in the current financial year, visibility for the second half remains limited, with economic and regulatory uncertainty from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with this, we have undertaken a number of cost saving initiatives to reduce our cost base to reflect the likely future demand patterns for our aviation services. 

Air Partner moved quickly to keep shareholders abreast of our performance during the extraordinary start to the year. While we are aware that the pandemic is not over, and that global economic and social risks and repercussions remain, the immediate response to fight the crisis has reached a more normalised stage for now. Accordingly, our monthly shareholder updates will halt and the Group will return to providing trading updates according to usual business practice. In line with this, the Board expects to provide a trading update on performance and a confirmation of our dividend policy going forward with our half year results, which we expect to release in September.”