The ENAV SpA Board of Directors, held today under the chairmanship of Nicola Maione, approved the interim financial report as of 31 March 2019. The first quarter of 2019 confirmed the strong growth trend in air traffic recorded in 2018 leading to a positive impact on revenue from operations, despite the typical seasonality of traffic flows, which in this period of the year, mark the lowest level of activity, while costs remain linear throughout the year.
En-route traffic in Italy, in terms of service units, grew 7.4% over the same period of 2018 delivering the highest growth rate among the largest European countries: France +3.4%, Germany +3.7%, Great Britain +4.3%, Spain +6.8%.
This performance was attributable, in addition to the strong results on punctuality, also to the quality of the service provided by ENAV.
The growth in en-route traffic was driven mainly by domestic traffic, up 9.6% YoY, due to a material increase in the average distance flown, and by overflight traffic (flights that do not take off or land in the country) which increased by 8.7% thanks to the 19.3% service units growth of flights with an average distance flown in the Italian airspace between 400-800 km. With regard to the main geographical flows, the strong performance recorded was mainly driven by connections between European countries, connections between Europe and Africa and connections between Europe and Asia.
International en-route traffic growth was in line with the European average at +5.5% YoY driven by solid performance of connections between Italy and the rest of Europe as well as connections between Italy and Asia and between Italy and Africa, with a significant recovery in traffic flows to and from Egypt. Flights between Italy and the American continent also increased in the period.
Terminal traffic  grew 5.9% in Q1 2019 in terms of service units compared to the first quarter of 2018 with growth driven by the positive performance on all Italian airports.
Total consolidated net revenue in the first quarter of 2019 reached 178.5 million euro, with an increase of 1.7% YoY.
Revenues from operations grew 3.1% YoY to 176.3 million euro driven by an increase in revenues from en-route services which reached 124.1 million euro, up 2.9% YoY, as a result of the growth of service units in Q1 which more than offset the 4% reduction in the regulated tariff. Terminal revenues rose by 6.2% to 46.9 million euro due to the combined effect of the increase in service units in the Italian airports and the reduction in the applied tariffs of terminal zones 2 and 3. Revenues from the non-regulated business amounted to 2.4 million euro.
The effect of the balanceon net revenue was negative for 6.7 million euros, mainly due to the combined effect of a lower balance generated in the period deriving from both en-route and terminal traffic being stronger than that foreseen in the performance plan, the terminal zone 3 balance, determined according to a cost recovery logic, as an effect between the revenues recorded in the quarter and the costs incurred, and lastly the balance reversal in the 2019 tariff.
Operating costs stood at 147.5 million euro, up 1.4% YoY.
In more detail, external costs declined by 4.1% YoY to 143.2 million euro, thanks to a decrease in utilities and telecommunications expenses, and to a reduction of external consultancies and professional services through a greater use of insourcing. The reduction is also partly due to the application of IFRS 16 on lease and rental costs.
Personnel costs increased by 2.7% to 121.3 million euro due to the effects deriving from the labor contract renewal and the adoption by TechnoSky of the ENAV contract effective 1 January 2019, as well as an increase in overtime related to the growth in traffic. These effects were partly offset by a headcount reduction of 113 employees on average and 124 total employees.
These initiatives contributed to a 3.2% YoY increase in EBITDA to 30.9 million euro, with an EBITDA margin of 17.3%, slightly up over the same period of 2018.
The consolidated EBIT improved, compared to the first quarter of 2018, by 7.2%, reaching -1.6 million euro.
The ENAV Group closed the first quarter of 2019 with a consolidated net loss of 3.5 million euro, improving 19.1% compared to the net loss of 4.4 million euro recorded in Q1 2018. This result is all the more significant considering that historically the first quarter of the year typically suffers from the weak seasonality effect in air traffic trends, which impact the top-line, while costs display a linear progression.
The net financial position is positive for 49.5 million euro, an improvement of 51.4 million euro compared to the figure recorded as of 31 December 2018, mainly due to the effect of the collection and payment dynamics related to the ordinary course of business that has produced a positive cash flow, which was partially offset by the negative effect of the application of IFRS 16.
For 2019 the Company confirms the guidance communicated to the market in March with net revenue growth expected to be flat to ‘low-single digit’, as a result of the decrease in the performance plan regulated tariff compensated by growth in traffic, and an EBITDA margin around 32%, slightly lower than that reported in 2018 as a result of certain costs expected to be sustained during 2019 in the implementation of the Company’s Business Plan. In terms of Capex, the Company plans to invest approximately 125 million euro. ENAV also confirms the guidance to increase its dividend by 4% year on year in 2020, relative to the 2019 financial year, in line with its dividend policy.
On the basis of the statements made by the Director Pietro Bracco, appointed by the Shareholders’ meeting held on April 26, 2019 as well as the information available to the Company, the Board of Directors ascertained that there are no grounds for ineligibility or incompatibility of such Director and that he fulfills the requirements of integrity, professionalism and independence as required by current legislation, the Corporate Governance Code and the Articles of Association.
The Board of Statutory Auditors verified the correct application of the assessment criteria and procedures adopted by the Board for the aforementioned independence assessments.
The Board of Directors also ascertained the fulfillment of the requisites of professionalism and integrity of the Auditors, as specified in art. 21 of the Articles of Association and acknowledged the possession of the requirements of independence set by the law and by the Corporate Governance Code on the basis of the checks carried out by the Board of Statutory Auditors on May 14, 2019.
The Board of Director also verified that the composition of the Board of Statutory Auditors is compliant with the legal and statutory provisions concerning gender balance and, with reference to the Director Pietro Bracco, ascertained that the number of directorships and memberships of control offices held by the Director is compatible with an effective performance of the position of Director in ENAV.
The Board also updated the composition of the Board Committees, providing:
Remuneration and Appointments Committee: Giuseppe Acierno (Chairman), Pietro Bracco and Maria Teresa Di Matteo (Members);
Control, Risks and Related Parties Committee: Antonio Santi (Chairman), Mario Vinzia and Fabiola Mascardi (Members);
Sustainability Committee: Carlo Paris (Chairman), Fabiola Mascardi and Pietro Bracco (Members).
A conventional weighted measurement unit which takes into account the aircraft certified take-off weight and, in case of en-route traffic, the distance travelled in the Italian airspace.
the take-off and landing activities within a radius of about 20 km from the airport runway.
The mechanism that allows ENAV to recover from or return to carriers, the amounts resulting from the difference between the planned air traffic and the actual traffic, as well as the recovery of costs and traffic for services provided to Terminal Zone 3 airports – those with less than 70,000 movements per year.