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Spirit Airlines Posts First Quarter Loss, Files to Raise Fresh Liquidity

By Lou Whiteman – Updated May 7, 2020 at 12:30PM

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The company is fortifying its balance sheet ahead of a downturn.

Spirit Airlines (SAVE -2.89%) said late Wednesday that it intends to raise about $130 million in a secondary stock sale and another $150 million via a convertible note offering, the latest airline to move to boost its liquidity in the face of a COVID-19-induced travel slowdown.

Spirit has commenced an underwritten public offering of 12 million shares as well as $150 million in convertible notes due in 2025. Spirit and other airlines have seen travel demand fall to near zero due to the pandemic, and the industry does not expect a quick rebound once the virus is contained.

The underwriters have the option to purchase up to 1.8 million additional shares and up to $22.5 million in additional convertible notes if demand for the offerings is strong.

A Spirit Airlines A319 on the tarmac.

Image source: Spirit Airlines.

The raise came as Spirit reported a first quarter loss of $0.86 per share on revenue of $771.1 million, falling short of the analyst consensus estimate for a loss of $0.62 per share on revenue of $810 million. Spirit said that it has reduced planned discretionary spending for 2020 by about $50 million and is in discussions with Airbus to defer some of its scheduled 2020 and 2021 aircraft deliveries and pre-delivery payments.

Spirit has reduced capacity in April by 75% and is planning to bring down flying by 95% year over year in May and June. That's helping to bring costs down, with the airline burning through just $4 million per day.

Overall, Spirit painted a better-than-feared picture of its cash stockpile and burn. The company ended the first quarter with nearly $900 million in total liquidity, but it does have a significant debt load including a $160 million revolver set to mature at year's end.

That's likely to be refinanced, but the company is still on the hook to take delivery on a large number of aircraft absent reaching some sort of deferral agreement with Airbus. Holders of the shares are going to want to watch closely to see how those talks play out.

Lou Whiteman owns shares of Spirit Airlines. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Spirit Airlines. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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