(Repeats story published at 8:55 a.m. EDT to widen
* $1 billion share buyback planned; carrier to repay debt
* Adj Q2 profit of $1.98 a share compares with $1.95
July 24 American Airlines Group said
Thursday it will pay its first dividend since 1980 and buy back
stock as it reported improved second-quarter earnings.
American, the largest airline by traffic, which was formed
from the late 2013 merger of US Airways and AMR Corp, declared a
dividend of 10 cents a share for shareholders of record Aug. 4.
It also planned a $1 billion share repurchase program and said
it would make additional pension contributions.
The carrier reported net income rose to $864 million, or
$1.17 a diluted share, from $220 million, or 79 cents a share, a
year earlier, when the company was not merged.
On a combined basis, American said net profit excluding
charges was $1.5 billion, compared with $681 million for the
Quarterly revenue was $11.36 billion, compared with $11.33
billion expected by analysts. Yield, a measure of the average
fare, rose 6.5 percent to 17.34 cents in the second quarter.
Adjusted for charges, which came to $592 million and
primarily reflected merger costs and non-cash expenses tied to
the sale of fuel-hedge contracts, profit was $1.98 a share,
compared with $1.95 a share expected by analysts on average,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
As part of its program to enhance shareholder returns,
American said it would complete its $1 billion share buyback by
the end of 2015. Its dividend will be paid on Aug. 18.
The carrier also said it would prepay $2.8 billion on debt
and plane leases by the end of this year. It plans to contribute
$600 million to defined benefit pension plans this year, more
than the $120 million in minimum contributions required.
American lowered its costs in bankruptcy and is now tasked
with integrating computer systems and resolving labor issues.
The company is adding newer planes and plans to boost revenue
with efforts such as reorganizing flight schedules at big hubs
like Miami and Chicago.
It is the latest carrier to announce plans to boost investor
returns. Delta Air Lines, which acquired Northwest in
2008, resumed a dividend and share buybacks last year.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Jeffrey
Benkoe and Bernadette Baum)