WestJet cash falls to $1.02bn in Q1

Washington DC
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WestJet saw its cash and cash equivalents decrease nearly 12% to C$1.11 billion ($1.02 billion) during the first quarter.

Cash was down 18.4% from C$1.36 billion at the end of March 2013.

Long-term debt and aircraft leases less current maturities were down 0.5% to C$2 billion in the quarter. Debt and leases were up 8.7% compared to a year earlier.

Calgary-based WestJet received a BBB- rating from Standard & Poor’s in February, which is a precursor to a planned unsecured debt issue later in 2014.

Vito Culmone, chief financial officer of the airline, told Flightglobal in April that WestJet plans to raise between C$300 million and C$400 million in unsecured debt to finance aircraft deliveries later in 2014.

WestJet has financed 59 Boeing 737 aircraft with loan guarantees from the US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and 10 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s with export credit financing from Export Development Canada (EDC).

The Ex-Im guaranteed loans secured by 52 737s carry an average weighted fixed interest rate of 5.95% and the loans secured by seven 737s carry an average weighted floating interest rate of 2.87%, according to the airline. All of the loans have a 12-year tenor.

The EDC debt on 10 Q400s carries an average fixed interest rate of 3.99% and also has a 12-year tenor.

Capital expenditures were C$146.7 million, including C$57.9 million for aircraft, in the first quarter. WestJet took delivery of two Q400s during the period.