Travelport Worldwide Limited (TVPT) CEO Gordon Wilson on Q3 2018 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

About: Travelport (TVPT)
by: SA Transcripts

Travelport Worldwide Limited (NYSE:TVPT) Q3 2018 Results Earnings Conference Call November 1, 2018 8:30 AM ET


Majid Nazir - Head, IR

Gordon Wilson - President and CEO

Bernard Bot - CFO


John King - Bank of America

Adam Hackel - Imperial

Brian Essex - Morgan Stanley

Neil Steer - Redburn Partners LLP

David Togut - Evercore ISI

Ashish Sabadra - Deutsche Bank

Dan Wasiolek - Morningstar


Hello, and welcome to the Travelport Third Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator instructions] Please note, this conference is being recorded.

Now, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Majid Nazir, Head of Investor Relations for Travelport.

Majid Nazir

Thank you, Kelly, and good morning, everyone. Many thanks for joining us on our third-quarter 2018 earnings call. Earlier this morning, we issued an earnings press release, which together with a slide presentation accompanying today's prepared remarks, are available on our website at Following the completion of today's call, a replay will also be available on our website, where it will remain for a period of one year.

Participating today's call, Gordon Wilson, our President and Chief Executive Officer, and Bernard Bot, our Chief Financial Officer. Before we begin, I'd like to highlight that throughout today's call, we'll discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures. In our earnings press release, slides accompanying this webcast, and our filings with the SEC, you'll find additional disclosures regarding these non-GAAP financial measures, including reconciliations of these measures with comparable GAAP measures as required by the SEC. I would also like to remind participants that the following discussion and responses to your questions reflects management's views only as of today and will include forward-looking statements.

These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made on today's conference call. Additional information about factors that could potentially impact our financial results are included in today's press release and our filings with the SEC. So with my introduction now concluded, let me turn the call over to Gordon.

Gordon Wilson

Thank you, Maj. Hello everyone and let me add my welcome to you all this morning. Bernard's going to take you through the detail on our financial results for the quarter, but first I want to look at how we -- what we've delivered in Q3, and the way in which we've driven our strategy. At the end of our prepared remarks, as we said, we'll take your questions as usual.

Now for those of you following the slide presentation, I'm on Slide 4. For Quarter three, I'm pleased to report that our year-over-year adjusted EBITDA was up 2%, while our net revenue was also up 2% in the quarter. On a year-to-date September basis, our net revenue was up 5%, while our adjusted EBITDA is essentially flat. These results, as you'll recall, absorb the impact of one account loss we suffered in the Pacific in 2017.

Travelport has had to make up $85 million of revenue and $45 million of adjusted EBITDA headwinds for the full year 2018, due to this account. And in the quarter and year to date, this has had a negative impact of 4 percentage points on revenue and 9 percentage points on adjusted EBITDA. Quarter three, therefore, is a steady performance, not only because we've overcome the account loss by winning and implementing new business, but also because we've done it against a backdrop of a challenging demand environment in some large travel markets outside of the United States. As we spoke about in our last earnings call, as anticipated, we saw softer leisure demand in the third quarter, because of the long and untypical heat wave in Northern Europe, a region where we've outperformed in recent times.

Furthermore, we are seeing the ripple effect coming to -- into our results of some other specific customer events, such as the decision that we took to terminate our contracts with the European online travel agency due to what we believe is a breach of its contractual terms with us. This was unfortunate given that we've grown particularly well with them in the first half of this year. At the same time, there are some extremely exciting developments in terms of recently announced deals of content and client wins that we believe will position us very well into 2020, especially as we begin to ramp up to 2019. As we'll describe shortly, Travelport's announced this quarter a whole string of new offerings to the market.

From a state-of-the-art data and analytics product developed with IBM, using artificial intelligence to help corporations better manage and plan corporate travel spend, to becoming the first global GDS platform to implement an airline using IATA's NDC API to facilitate real customer bookings through this different mechanism. We've also signed some landmark deals delivering us an even stronger proposition for the second largest GDS market in the world, which is India, and that will begin to ramp up in 2019. We've also had some great news on new airline deals for our U.S. customers.

We continue to lead in airline merchandising, in mobile travel apps, and in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in our search and speedy response. Mitigating some of the headwinds we're experiencing with some specific customers [indiscernible] new customer wins and share of wallet expansions in Travelport's favor in both the online and corporate travel sectors. So to recap the financial results for the quarter, net revenue is up 2% to $623 million, with adjusted EBITDA growth of 2% to $139 million. Our adjusted EBITDA margin was stable year over year at 22.4%.

Adjusted net income was up 77% in the quarter to $40 million as expected, and largely due to lower tax and interest charges year over year. Our diluted adjusted earnings per share were therefore $0.31 for the quarter, up 74% year over year. Splitting down our revenue, air declined 3% year over year, and clearly, we've lost share in Australia and New Zealand. And the online travel agency customer whose contract was terminated was European-based, and so those bookings have ceased in Quarter 3.

These two events have somewhat masked that Travelport gained air market share in both Asia and Latin America in the quarter, as well as in several key European markets, including Spain, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands. We actually grew our share of the top 200 online travel agencies across the world by 60 basis points. And further to this, we're winning new business in corporate travel, which we expect to continue as some exciting new positive developments have rolled out. More about this shortly.

Beyond Air continues to perform well. And this quarter, we save 30% of our travel commerce platform revenues. Revenues in the quarter were up 14%, driven by another standout performance from our payments business, eNett. This business grew its revenue by 58%, which is essentially the result of continued market growth in eNett's travel agency customers as well as eNett's own share of wallet penetration within those customers, especially some of the larger OTAs in Europe and Asia.

So for the forward look, our performance this quarter means that we remain on track to fall within the financial guidance range we gave you at the start of the year. The market and specific customer headwinds I referenced earlier mean we expect that we'll be more likely at the lower end of our ranges for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow. We believe that eNett will continue to perform strongly, but against harder comparables as we go forward. And therefore, we remain comfortable with the revised full-year growth that we gave at the end of last quarter, which will be over 50% in revenue terms.

So let me now turn to Slide 5 and give you a little more detail on the elements of our strategy that we delivered in this quarter. Our business investments and our orientation are to ensure that we fill it through and benefit from the changes happening in the travel industry in three specific areas. First, we're delivering the broadest and richest travel content on an integrated basis for our customers. Second, we're leveraging data and our various technology-led innovations to drive travel agency and corporate travel productivity and efficiency.

And finally, we are focusing on next-generation technologies to drive the new world of how travel is being searched, booked, and managed, and the channels through which this is occurring. And we've got strong momentum in all of these areas. So I'll add on the progress on each -- on this each quarter -- of this quarter, I should say, starting with our expanded content and merchandising leadership. In Quarter 3, we signed new long-term deals with several of our key partners, including United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Etihad. The deal with United means that all of our major U.S. airline contracts have been renewed and advanced to 2019. Our new deal with Southwest, one of the world's top 10 airlines is measured by passengers boarded, is a real boost for our travel agency customers, especially those involved in corporate and U.S. government business, who need and rely on this content.

The Etihad deal really underscores the purpose of Travelport's strategic direction, since the new agreement includes continued use of our airline merchandising tools, including rich content and branding; the use of ancillaries such as paid bags and indeed sponsored flights by Etihad; as well as their use of our cloud-based, business intelligence solutions for airlines. In addition, Etihad has renewed and extended its contract with Travelport Digital to continue delivery innovated mobile services to its passengers. The Etihad app, which Travelport designed, built, and runs for Etihad in the AWS cloud is 5-star rated by its customers. In India and beyond, we've added to our unique position as the only GDS platform in which IndiGo distributes its content by signing up an exclusive deal with Air India, which will kick in during 2019. This is the result of winning a tender to become their sole GDS supplier. And regarded to this, a new long-term deal including full content and merchandising capabilities with Jet Airways, which will commence in April 2019. In the first nine months of this year, our business in India grew by 26%, in a market which itself grew at 18%. Indicating the share gains we're seeing from the likes of Yatra, PayTM, and MakeMyTrip.

Having further differentiated our content capability to this vibrant market, we believe that we will continue to expand our leadership both in India and in the countries with large Indian investments and people inflows and outflows. In terms of enabling our airline customers to distribute the products in the way they desire, this quarter, we delivered further on our ability to consume content for airlines in which to deliver some of it via the API standards of IATA's new distribution capability or NDC. As the first major platform to gain certification of the highest level as an aggregator by IATA, we're now also the first to deliver a live product, enabling our agencies to search and book content delivered on to our platform from the NDC API in real time. Now we're not at the end of the journey here in terms of the changing manner in which airline content is delivered and processed by our platform, Travelport is now gaining the first real insights as to what works with professional travel agencies at scale.

As I leave the updates on content leadership, it's worthwhile again pointing out that over 270 airlines are fully implemented in Travelport, with the ability to show and merchandise their full range of products and ancillaries with rich content and branding. This continues to be considerably more than our nearest competitor and this sort of content delivered to our hybrid cloud solution is one of the reasons we are gaining share with new customers, and expanding our share of wallet with many existing customers. I referenced earlier the need to use our technology and data to drive efficiency and productivity. This quarter, the results of some of our investments into data analytics and artificial intelligence arrived in the form of tangible products for our customers.

The standout for the corporate travel market is travel manager, which we have developed in partnership with IBM. This is we believe an industry-first artificial intelligence platform designed to help businesses manage their corporate travel spend, using IBM's coveted engine capabilities to track, manage, predict, and analyze travel costs in one place, while being populated with real-time pricing data for benchmarking and spend information from Travelport. The tool has received exceptional initial feedback and interest, and we're excited about the opportunity this gives us in the marketplace as we build further out our proposition for corporate travel. In hotels, our latest iteration of how travel agencies can easily book and see the complete range of products that hoteliers offer took another step forward with our hotel retail app, which is nested within our travel agency point of sale, known as Smartpoint.

This app enables travel agencies using Travelport to see public rates, loyalty member rates, corporate negotiated rates, prepaid and postpay rates, and, indeed, Travelport exclusive rates, all in one easy-to-navigate user experience. It integrates maps, pictures of the hotels, and even reviews. The proposition is that making all this content available in one place and making it easy to book, will drive greater hotel attachments, while giving better service to the customer and driving better revenue for the travel agency. We added another dimension here to the proposition by adding to our Trip Assist mobile app the prompting for a traveler to book a hotel if his or her itinerary includes an overnight stay, with a curated selection of hotels available at their destination.

Travelport believes that the adoption of eNett by our customers is driving significant productivity, efficiency, and financial benefits to them. Indeed a survey published last month by Cowen of 200 travel agencies across a select number of the markets, stated and I quote, that Travelport's eNett payments business is now a top five payment method. eNett has grown its revenue by 72% year over year in the last nine months. By the end of this year, it should surpass $300 million in annual revenue, which is nearly 5 times the revenue it had in 2014. The third element of our strategic focus is how we're building new capabilities and differentiating our platform in the market by leveraging next-generation technologies.

I've spoken in earlier calls about how Travelport, certainly among our peers, has been an early adopter of cloud capabilities. Our data analytics services and our entire mobile platform is running the AWS cloud while we've implemented a hybrid cloud with Microsoft in their Azure product to reduce latency, enhance speed, and enable us to ramp up faster for our travel commerce platform customers. Our use of artificial intelligence and machine learning has contributed to a more than 30% improvement year to date in our global average search response time. With many of our dual or indeed tri-automated customers telling us that we are now leading in this aspect of the delivery of our platform.

It's certainly one of the reasons, alongside the differentiate content we have, that we are winning share of wallet in new business, especially with OTAs. And to continue to enhance our offering, we are busy rolling out our next generation of APIs, which here at Travelport we're calling trip services. These are lighter-weight APIs, through which we convey our content to third parties using next-generation capabilities. They are easier to code to and faster.

And our strategy is that once all the functionality we deliver is covered, [Indiscernible] the same set as trip service APIs that drive our own mobile platform and travel agency point-of-sale desktop as we make available to online travel agencies and third-party corporate bookings tool providers. Trip services are indeed live and in production today with one of our largest online travel agency customers and they'll further expand in 2019 and onwards as we complete our development, which is being done using the scaled agile framework methodology. And finally, with digital, as I mentioned earlier, our progress this quarter includes the addition of hotel bookings into Trip Assist, which is the white-label mobile app we provide to our travel agency customers. We signed 13 additional new agency clients to this capability in quarter three alone.

And we've expanded our relationship with easyJet, wherein we design, build, and run their mobile offering, which this quarter included an innovative new interface that allows users of Instagram who like the look of a destination in a picture to auto-launch the easyJet app to advise of possible flights to that destination. This is a great illustration of where mobile is heading to and where, again, Travelport is leading. Our mobile apps have been downloaded nearly 47 million times and counting. All these achievements are taking Travelport to progressive underlying improvement in our business.

In booking terms, we've grown at approximately two times the rate of the online travel agency market, both this quarter and indeed year to date. And this is despite the fact we do not have air bookings with the largest air booking OTA of them, all in the form of Expedia in the U.S.A. or to in the course of this year in Europe. It demonstrates that the growth we're getting from faster-growing OTAs across the globe is significant, and over the course of 2019, it should gain further momentum, as a result of our efforts in India, but also with online travel agencies across Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.

Now it's not all smooth sailing, of course. As you may have seen, one of the travel management companies, Carlson Wagonlit, has announced new GDS fields with each of our largest competitors. Travelport has, however, an existing contract with this customer, which runs through the end of 2020. We do anticipate, nonetheless, the -- Carlson Wagonlit will progressively move a number of their corporate travelers -- corporate customers from us, which will have a negative impact in Q4 and into 2019.

But what is interesting is as a result of this plan change by Carlson Wagonlit, several of the corporations that have them today had issued requests for proposals from other TMCs, and Travelport is, of course, supporting them. As a counter against this, there are series of wins and growth that we secured with other major travel management companies and some key regional players. This includes in markets such as Scandinavia and Austria, where hitherto we had little corporate share at all. Given our enhanced content offerings, our travel manager AI capabilities in partnership with IBM, our mobile apps, and other our diverse travel content, we believe there are net-net incremental conversion opportunities available to Travelport.

And to give you just a couple of examples in two countries. We signed a multiyear renewal agreement with Encore Travel, which is Canada's largest Canadian-owned and operated TMC and one of the strongest users of our point-of-sale in terms of both car and hotel attachments. Moreover, we signed another long-term deal with Maritime Travel, Canada's largest independent travel agency. And Travelport was selected in both due to our technology and content, again, against significant competitive pressure.

In the U.K. we signed a multiyear agreement with Amber Road, which is one of the largest corporate travel managers in the market and was formerly known as CTI. Amber Road went live with Travelport last month and is another significant conversion from a competitor GDS. Looking geographically, in Asia, we are growing at two times the GDS market rate in air booking terms.

Part of it is indeed India, but we've also shown significant share gains in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. We're also seeing good gains across several European countries and Latin America, as Bernard will describe later. So on that note, let me now hand you over to Bernard for more details on the financials, and I'll return with a summary and our guidance for the full-year 2018.

Bernard Bot

Thank you, Gordon. Hello, everyone. Let me go as usually through the drivers of our trading performance in the third quarter, before moving to the analysis of the summarized financials. Starting with Slide 7.

Our travel commerce platform delivered revenue growth of 2% in the third quarter, helped by the continued excellent performance of eNett within Beyond Air. Our revenue overcame a 4-percentage-point impact from the Pacific account loss in 2017, as well as the impact from our termination of a contract with the European OTA in second quarter of this year. The headwinds masked strong performances in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, including gains in the global OTA channel. This is despite demand weakness in some key regional markets as we had anticipated.

Reported segments, which include air, hotel, car, and rental bookings were down 4%, including a 4 percentage-point impact from the Pacific account loss. Splitting out our revenue growth by channel starting with air. Air revenue was down 3%, with strong growth in revenue from Asia and Latin America, offset by declines in the Pacific and Europe. To proportion of our revenue from higher yielding away bookings was 67%, up 0.5 percentage points.

Beyond Air revenue was up 14%, driven by eNett revenue growth of 58%. The business continues to benefit from a broadening of its adjustable market due to more travel being booked on a prepaid basis, which plays to eNett sweet spot. In addition to strong growth by eNett's global OTA customers and our increasing share of wallet with them. This performance was against tougher comparables than early in the year, as well as a currency headwind of around 3 percentage points.

Hotel room nights were down 4% and car rental days down 2%, against strong increases in the prior year. However, our hospitality attachment rate was stable, which is a positive result, given our continued growth with several air-only OTAs. Our Technology Services business increased 1% in the quarter, as it lapped the disposal of IGTS in 2017. Looking at the different regions, starting with our international or non-U.S.

business that makes up three quarters of our platform revenue. International revenue grew by 3% and international segments were down 5% in the quarter, with 7 percentage points of impact from the Pacific account loss. Our strong underlying performance reflects Air market share gains at several major accounts within Asia, Europe, and Latin America, in particular. Taking the regions in turn, Asia-Pacific segments were down 6%, entirely due to the loss of the Pacific account.

In Asia alone, that is excluding the Pacific, our revenue and segment growth were both 23%, which was nearly twice the market rate of growth. As Gordon mentioned earlier, our business in key markets, such as India and Indonesia continues to ramp and indeed in the quarter, we grew our air share in countries, which collectively represent two-thirds of the Asian GDS market. A progress in Asia is therefore widespread and not centered around one specific country. Europe grew revenue by 9% overall, despite a 7% decline in segments. As alluded to earlier, European market decline year over year as a result of the heat wave we experienced in Northern Europe this summer, together with the soccer world cup. On top of this, we were impacted by our decision in June this year to terminate the contract of the European OTA. These factors masked what was otherwise a very satisfactory performance in Europe with Air share gains in several countries, including Sweden, France, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. In fact, we maintained our Air market share in Europe year over year, if we include the terminated European OTA customer.

In the Middle East and Africa, despite a flat market, our revenue grew 2%, with strong contribution from our Beyond Air activities in the region. Finally, in Latin America and Canada, we grew both our revenue in segments by 2%, expanding our Air share yet again in nearly every major economy in Latin America.

Moving to the U.S., revenue declined by 1% from a 4% decline of reported segments. This includes some of the final rolloff of the Orbitz business in the U.S., which since being acquired by Expedia in 2015 has migrated off our platform. Despite our new win rate in U.S. picking up, particularly, in the corporate space, were negatively impacted in U.S. by customer footprint, which is less weighted to the relatively faster growing online channel. Turning to Slide 8, where we have, again, laid out the main drivers of the year-over-year movement of net revenue minus commissions. As a reminder commissions in this analysis includes the amortization impairment of customer loyalty payment both of which are removed from adjusted EBITDA. The bridge starts from Q3 2017. We have shown a $30 million impact of the Pacific agency loss, and a $3 million impairment of a customer loyalty payment relating to U.K. travel agency who had its license to issue airline tickets suspended in the quarter.

Although we have picked up some of the lost business from this competitor -- agencies that we also served, the upfront payment to this agency is no longer deemed as receivable. Excluding these two factors, our net revenue less commission grew by a little over 2% in the quarter in line with our top-line growth. As you can see from the bridge, we saw good contribution from our payments business and was also pleased that our core distribution business generated positive pricing year over year, which exceeded the impact of the decline in segment volume. Moreover, our commission rates in the distribution business were flat. Moving to the next bar, the net foreign exchange impact form the retranslation of revenue commissions was a small benefit year over year. Bear in mind that the results from our realized FX hedging contracts, which were a slight negative in the quarter, are recorded in SG&A. Finally, the bar marked as other includes variable -- various non-transactional elements of our business, which were down year over year, largely due to lower digital revenue.

Turning to Slide 9 and the top half of our summarized income statement. I've already described the underlying movement from net revenue and commissions. To summarize the 7% commission growth, eNett strong performance was a principal driver of the increase in the quarter, offset by a decline in GDS commissions. Technology costs were down 10%, with the positive impact from our ongoing focus on the efficiency of our expenditure. In addition, we benefited from a higher capitalization rate, leading to a net reduction in the amount of development spend recognized in OpEx. This lower OpEx amount is mirrored by a higher amount of capital investment within PP&E. SG&A costs were stable year over year, with good labor cost control, offset by a modest headwind from foreign exchange, due to realized losses on hedges. Taken together, SG&A and technology costs were down 4% in the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA increased 2% to $139 million, this was inclusive of the 9 percentage points, or $13 million, negative impact from the Pacific agency loss.

The adjusted EBITDA margin percentage was 22.4%, was stable year over year in line with our expectation. In fact, our margin increase without eNett, which is as we previously explained an intrinsically lower-margin business than our core distribution activities, but also being a much higher growth business. Moving further down the income statement, the depreciation charge and the amortization of customer loyalty payments were stable year over year, meaning that adjusted operating income came in 4% higher at $79 million for the quarter, with an operating margin of 12.7%, up 20 basis points. U.S. GAAP operating income was down 28% to $44 million. Adjustment to GAAP operating income, therefore, totaled $35 million. These adjustments were higher than the prior year mainly due to higher corporate and restructuring cost of $15 million and a $10 million unfavorable swing in the mark to market of unrealized FX hedging contracts. Continuing onto Slide 10, you will see the second half of our summarized income statement.

In the quarter, our interest expense decreased by $4 million, or 12%. Higher LIBOR rates applied to the term loan and a higher rate on the bond were more than offset by the benefit of our interest rates swaps, the lower debt balance, lower term loan margin and lower non-recurring fees related to our re-pricing in August 2017. All in all, we anticipate our full-year 2018 interest expense to be around $110 million, which reflects the substantial improvements that we have made, as we have refinanced and restructured our debt.

Moving now to tax. Provision for income tax decreased from $23 million to $12 million in the quarter, this was as expected given that among other factors, last year's numbers were impacted by adverse changes in our geographical profit mix, owing to higher international profits. Our effective tax rate was 24% for the quarter. Year to date, our total provision for income taxes is $2 million higher year over year at $43 million, with an effective tax rate of 22%, which is similar to the prior year. And we continue to expect our full-year taxes to be approximately $55 million, with an effective tax rate in the low to mid-20s.

Overall, adjusted net income was up 77% to $40 million. Adjustment to U.S. GAAP, net income totaled $34 million, higher than the prior year by $16 million, this was largely due to the same factors affecting GAAP operating income.

Moving on to Slide 11, and you'll find the summary of our cash flow for the third quarter, along with our net debt position. Looking at the constituents part of free cash flow. Net cash from operations decreased by $13 million to $83 million, largely due to higher interest and tax payments in the quarter and less favorable movement in working capital balances. Cash interest was up due to the timing of interest payments on the bond, which we issued earlier this year, which carry semiannual payments in March and September. Cash taxes were up $2 million, largely due to the phasing of payments year over year.

Capital expenditure in property and equipment was up $3 million. As I touched on in Slide 9, and indeed in previous earnings call, our capital investments related development work in key areas of our business that are driving our win rate, including areas such as nontraditional air content, enhance search and shopping and next generation APIs. Given our better efficiency in product design and development, we're realizing relatively higher capitalization rates and this is resulting in slightly higher CapEx this year. However, the converse benefits the technology OpEx line, as mentioned earlier. In line with our guidance, we anticipate capital expenditure in 2018 to total approximately $140 million. Our overall multiyear investment program remains unchanged.

In summary, free cash flow decreased by $15 million to $48 million. Finally, our net debt reduced by $28 million since the prior quarter-end, representing net leverage of 3.5 times last 12 months adjusted EBITDA. Overall, expect our net leverage ratio to remain at this level by the end of 2018.

Let me now hand back to Gordon for some concluding remarks.

Gordon Wilson

Thank you, Bernard. And I'm on Slide 13. So to summarize, we've had a steady third quarter achieving net revenue adjusted EBITDA growth of 2%, and adjusted net income growth of 77%. Looking at the year to date, we are delivering against our strategic objectives and achieving commercial wins according to our plans.

In revenue terms, we overcame the loss of the large Pacific account in 2017. Indeed, excluding the impact of this one customer, our underlying net revenue and adjusted EBITDA growth were each 9% in the nine months September 30. Over the last quarter, Travelport's strong business momentum has been tempered somewhat by some specific customer headwinds explained today. And also because of our relative exposure to certain markets where travel demand has softened in recent months, certainly compared to United States.

Our underlying volume growth in Q3 has nonetheless remained robust, it's obviously slower than it was in Q2 and Q1 for these reasons. In terms of what this means for our full-year results, our year-to-date performance means that we currently remain on track to fall within the full-year financial guidance ranges we gave you at the start of this year. As I previously stated, at this juncture, we do anticipate revenue adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow to come at the low end of these ranges, while adjusted net income and adjusted income per share should deliver more toward the middle of their respective ranges. Now naturally as a well-managed business and recognizing that the headwind that I discussed above will roll into the number next year, I'm giving some of the changes to where our business is coming from now and into the next couple of years.

We are in the process of redesigning our enterprise operating model, seeking to rationalize and streamline the handoffs between departments, more fully implement scaled agile as our primary product and development methodology, and address the spans and layers in our business so we remain customer-responsive. The Travelport business is continuing to grow in Asia and Latin America, and it's holding its own while growing revenue in Europe. eNett remains a significant growth contributor. Our business net of our customer footprint in the United States has stabilized and has some interesting opportunities ahead.

We are laying foundations for some further growth opportunities to be realized over the next few years, with Asia again a particular focus and source of strength. We continue to invest in and build both new products to enhance our proposition to keep customer groups, such as corporate travel and online travel agencies, and to take full advantage of the newer technology now available across cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobile, and next-generation conveyance of our content. We believe that taken together, these initiatives over the medium term will enable us to mitigate the impact of both some demand softness in certain travel regions and the specific customer items I called out in my remarks this morning. So thank you for your attention, that concludes our prepared remarks, and I'll now like to open up the call to Q&A.

Question-and-Answer Session


[Operator Instructions] The first question is from John King with Bank of America. Please go ahead.

John King

Good morning. Good afternoon. Thanks for taking the questions. I've got two, please. Firstly on eNett. Obviously another good growth quarter. I think the growth was [indiscernible] in dollars year on year. But If I look at Slide 8, it seems to imply I guess the net revenue less commission increase of, I don't know, somewhere in the kind of 5% to 10% range. So can you comment on what kind of incremental gross margin you're seeing on that growth at the moment? And how you expect that to trend going forward? And the second thing, was just the clarification probably for Bernard on the restructuring, it obviously looks to be almost $20 million of restructuring this year. Can you give us some insights as to what that relates to? Thank you.

Bernard Bot

Sure. Hi, John. To start with eNett. I think, as you rightly [indiscernible], the increase in commissions in the quarter is maybe all due to eNett. Actually the increase in agency incentives was slightly down and, obviously, that's off a very strong, again, eNett growth. I would say, if you look at what eNett is contributing to the bottom line, we've always said, it's around double-digit and if I look at its performance quarter over quarter in terms of the EBITDA margin it's delivering, it's improving, it's --has an upward trajectory. So I think, we can be very pleased with, one, continued very strong growth, and second, continued good margin and actually some improving margin on that part of the business. If I then go to the other point in terms of the restructuring. As Gordon alluded to, we're looking at several initiatives in the business to make sure that what we deliver and how we deliver it to customers has improved. Introducing frameworks such as Scaled Agile, but also looking at some of our spans and layers. Now that has two benefits, one is that we're being much more effective in what we do, but there's' also a productivity and efficiency saving from that and will be -- what we've taken this quarter as a restructuring charge of around 15 million, that is part of that initiative with related efficiency savings to come in next year from customer initiatives.

John King

And so what kind of layers of the organization? Is that sales? Is that services? Maybe, I'm just wondering kind of which region are you making changes in?

Gordon Wilson

John, it's Gordon here, it's not restricted to any one region, it's not restricted to the commercial function either. We're taking a long hard look at our business across the board, and making sure we've got the right kind of spans of control. We don't have too many layers of management that we're looking to our go-to-market strategy in terms of where we are hubbed around the world in terms of where our business is coming from. When we have growth opportunities as we see them in Asia and elsewhere, we have to make sure we've got the right people in the right place to sort of deliver on those.

But it goes across the board, we're putting in things like robotics into our finance organization to sort of streamline some our process in operations there, the SAFe Agile Framework, which is the investment, should actually result in better flow through of their development work, you can do more faster, actually you should be able to do it lower cost. That'll help us also use some better use our outsourced providers in a scaled agile framework when we've got peaks of activity going on to get particular products out. So it's across the board and if it's an enterprise operating model review that we've been engaged in now for some months and we're making provisions for changes that emerge as a result of that.


The next question is from the line of Adam Hackel with Imperial. Please go ahead.

Adam Hackel

Just a couple of quick ones from me. I was curious on the Southwest renewal. Can you just remind us what the extent of that partnership is? And the extent you get access to their content for your channel and sort of where that maybe could lead longer term with those guys?

Gordon Wilson

Yes, it'll be a pleasure. The deal we have with Southwest, the big change has happened, it's now available or it's going to be available fully in our Worldspan -- to our Worldspan users as well as our Apollo users in United States. We've got all of their corporate negotiated rates and government rates in there. Southwest do not allow distribution to online travel agencies. So it's really kind of a function of growing in the corporate market and government market, first and foremost, which is an exciting area for us. As I mentioned in our call, we're growing quite nicely in the corporate space and having this content in our system also means we can pack it up into corporate booking tools, which we obviously partner with around the world, but particularly in the United States in this particularly -- in this particular instance. And so it's -- we've always had that content, we now expanded it into our full-user base in the United States, and we can pipe it up into the corporate booking tools you work with. And as you may have heard from Southwest own earnings, corporate travel and corporate growth for them is a key function of what they're doing, so that fits quite nicely.

Adam Hackel

And I guess, just curious just more on the higher level, you guys talked about data analytics and all that. I mean, just curious, where you guys think sort of the travel industry is in terms of embracing digital transformation? And I guess, I'm thinking maybe more on the customer side and the agency side, but certainly both side. Just curious, how sort of NDC can play into that certainly with the airlines here.

Gordon Wilson

Yes, I mean, well, there's a couple of questions in that. First of all, I think it's a funny thing when people talk about digitalization because we've been in digitalization and travel since we were incepted, way back in the day. And I think what we're obviously seeing, is a huge shift to mobile, which is why we're quite pleased with them, with the access that we've got and how we're using those access to build out more kind of capabilities, because users want to be self-enabled 24/7 and in the devices that they carry around with them. So that's a big change. We're seeing a progressive move from browser and into mobile capabilities. And so putting in things like being able to add your hotel booking into your itinerary on Trip Assist on the mobile application is, I think, going to be a source of growth for us going forward. The other thing putting into mobile, the ability to make a change of a booking yourself. Because at the end of the day, if you want to change your reservation, there are three questions you're asked. Can I? Yes or no, depending on the ticket I've bought. How much would it cost? And you needed that to be full -- if it's too expensive or you don't. And then is there a seat on the flight that I want to go on, all of that lends itself very well to that mobile engagement. In AI, in data, more generally, I think that's an area where historically the travel industry it sits on massive pools of data, really haven't exploited that data as much as they could or should do. Hence, what we're doing with IBM in the travel management space, providing them the ability through all the data that we have to sort of do what if kind of analysis. So the example I was giving, if a corporate travel manager could get his or her internal travelers to book two more days in advance than they normally do, how much money would that save, because the way the airline prices are changed. What we can now do all about. How can we make sure we've got data so you can avoid peak times. You don't go to Singapore, for example, when the Grand Prix is on, because hotel prices are 3x the normal price and flights are expensive. All of that as well as managing disruptions to travel, AI and big data is enabling. And I think in that area the travel Industry has been a bit slow, frankly, to sort of really harness what's out there, but we're beginning to change that, and that's all pretty exciting for us.


The next question is from the line of Brian Essex with Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.

Brian Essex

I guess, Bernard, I was wondering if you could talk about capital allocation priorities, if that's changed both on, I guess, debt repayment as well as share repurchases particularly with kind of the pullback in the shares. I think previously you've stated that you have a focus on debt repayment, but it seems relatively flat. Just wondering, if your view has changed there.

Bernard Bot

Hi, Brian, to some extent, it hasn't. I mean, the -- we've previously laid out that the board will look again at our capital allocation policy at the end of the year. Obviously, you're going to look at what does the future cash flow look like, what are the risks in the business, what are the opportunities. I think the longer-term target in terms of that event still remains 2 1/2 to 3 times, but obviously, we'll review the trajectory to that. And then once we have all the component pieces including the opportunities in the business, because I think the first priority is to invest in the business as we've been doing in this year. We'll then see a little bit what the capacity is then to change the capital allocation to look at a different allocation to debt or shareholder returns. But I think you -- as we said at the beginning of the year, that's an exercise we're working through and give us a little bit of time until the new year and the review that we're doing with the board.

Brian Essex

And maybe a follow-up just on eNett, what that pipeline looks like? Had a bit of a sequential bump, but I know that business can be relatively volatile. Where do you -- is your view kind of changed at all, given the past three quarters of performance in terms of where you anticipate to shake out for the year?

Bernard Bot

Yes, I mean, I think the -- we stated more than 50%, which is up from the more than 30% at the beginning of the year. You're right to note that. The Q3 was a little bit softer, but you got to go back at what happened in 2017. While, for example, Q1 and Q2, were in the 15% to 20% range growth. At Q3, we do 30% and in Q4, 46%. So you're a little bit challenged in the compares and I think that -- the overall result is excellent. So I'm -- as Gordon said, we're going to be above the $300 million. But again, the longer-term rates that we've always been looking at is more around the 25%. And I would say, we're very confident about that.

Gordon Wilson

And I'd also say, Brian, this is Gordon here. There's still a massive ramp for eNett ahead of it. We're working with eight of the 10 top OTAs at the moment. But the share of wallet opportunity available with them is still absolutely enormous. And if you think about some of the dynamics that are going on, this progressive move to sort of prepaid and postpaid options that you see for hotels, for example, well, the prepaid that all fits the sweet spot of eNett exceptionally well. And we're even now working with some airlines enable them to use eNett to some of the payments that they make. And so there is no kind of limit to the growth of this business, but obviously, it's getting bigger, and therefore, year over year, growing at 50% every year is quite hard, but we are pretty comfortable we'll maintain a 25% growth rate for this service business for the foreseeable future.

Brian Essex

Well, if you think if you just maintain it flat sequentially in 4Q you'd be kind of in a like 69% growth, is there anything about that business that would make it tip down? I mean, it seems to operate at somewhat of a consistent run rate once it steps up.

Gordon Wilson

No, that it's caused it to tip down unless there's a particular customer for some reasons decide that they -- they're able to use eNett for some purpose. When we've had lumpiness in the past, we had, as an example, a big OTA turns us on -- thought there was an issue in their conversion rate as result of it, which was based on false positive, which we spent a lot of time proving to them it was not the result of using eNett and then they turn this back on again. So we've had some lumpiness when that happened, but that's just normal kind of course of business.

Bernard Bot

Let's say, Brian, we're very confident -- very confident in the more than 50%.


Your next question is from the line of Neil Steer with Redburn Partners LLP. Please go ahead.

Neil Steer

Hi. Thanks for taking the questions. I've got a couple, if I may. Firstly, given all of the improvements you're making to the front-end functionality, speed of response, and so forth, and obviously, with the content, what was behind Carlson Wagonlit's decision to move away from you to your two peers?

Gordon Wilson

Well, I mean, again, as I've said in my comments, we do have a contract with them which goes to the end of 2020. And I don't know when their contracts with them Amadeus and Sabre came up, maybe they came up before ours did. That said, I think some of what's happening at Carlson Wagonlit is that they have a very challenging internal IT environment with multiple different forms of desktop [indiscernible] which they've built themselves or added to themselves, etc., which makes their cost to serve quite high relative to other TMCs. They have a huge book of business with them, government travel in the United States, which is principally all processed for them on Sabre and is all tied in to a particular voucher system that the government use, which means it's a very entrenched position with Sabre there. And I think most recently, they made some decisions to close -- as they restructure their business to close one particular call center, which happened to be on Travelport and they've moved that business into other call centers which aren't on Travelport. So I think that's some of what's going on there. I'm pretty confident that their decision to do all that had nothing to do with Travelport's product content or service.

Neil Steer

And just following on from that, the capital market event, so you obviously expressed an interest to regain or win market share, booking market share out to 2020 or 2021. Given the way the market evolved over the last couple of quarters, are you still on track to do that with that sort of ambition?

Gordon Wilson

Yeah, I think -- so I mean, obviously, we had the European OTA, which is not something we forecast, to be quite honest with you, but they've managed to run up debts of $66 million or something with IATA, which made things a bit of a challenge. If you look at what we're doing in India alone as a market. We -- which is growing like billy-o. Our position in India in the next year few years is pretty unique, in fact, in terms of what we've got, in terms of the content of IndiGo, Air India and indeed Jet Airways, which are the three biggest airlines accounting for 70% of the domestic traffic in India for sure, let alone than the international airlines that fly in and out of India. And then you look at markets like Indonesia, which is growing, perhaps Thailand, etc., as well as opportunities further in Europe net of the opportunities we have with the European OTA. And I think we can see a path to growing our share, which has always been our air share, which has always been our objective, but not any guide. We're also about making profit for our owners and increasingly, making sure we're attaching things like hotels and cars and mobile apps, etc., to our proposition as well as payment.

Bernard Bot

Yes, just to add another point, Neil, is the geographic dimension, I think there is also a channel dimension. If you look at the OTA channel and if we look at the top 200 OTAs, we're growing at double the rate that the market is growing. The market is growing at around 4.5%, 5% and we're in the 9% range of growth. But I think that the geographic process is also a good channel, greater penetration that we're realizing.

Neil Steer

And so just one final clarification, the streamlining and the spend of money this year. Can you quantify what is the cost saving that will allow you to achieve annualized, as you go into 2019? And also related to that, is the spends this year the final tranche, or will there be further spending as you go into 2019?

Gordon Wilson

Well, the answer to that is there may be more in 2019, we're still working through that. The first question, Neil, is really trying to look to guidance for 2019. As you know, our ordinary course of business as we give our guidance in February, I'm not being awkward, but we are still working through a number of the puts and takes in our business for getting our budget in 2019 finalized and to take to our Board. And so, we're not really giving guidance outside the normal course, which we said we will.


The next question is from the line of David Togut with Evercore ISI. Please go ahead.

David Togut

Two questions, please. First, could you quantify the annual revenue and earnings impact of the transition of Carlson Wagonlit over the next couple of years?

Gordon Wilson

No, David, I can't, because I don't know exactly what that's going to be, first of all. Because we've got a number of the corporate accounts issues with Carlson Wagonlit today who are going to be moving to other TMC, technically I don't actually know definitively what Carlson is going to move up and when. Again, we have a contract with them and also I'm not giving guidance for 2019 at this point in time.

David Togut

And then there was a 17% increase in European RevPas year over year in Q3, can you comment on the drivers behind that and to what extent is that growth in RevPas sustainable over the next year or so?

Bernard Bot

The growth in RevPas has a number of components, the principal one in Europe is eNett, but if I look at the overall RevPas, we're also seeing good air pricing, but that's a smaller part of the rev macro, so the biggest impact is the growth of our payments business. And yes, depending on what the eNett business grows like that's going to be a contributor to the growth of RevPas in Europe also going forward.

David Togut

So there wasn't a big driver from so-called private channel agreement with IAG, Lufthansa and so on?

Bernard Bot

There was a -- I mean, the overall impact of our usual negotiation on annual increases, basically that's the main part of that increase as it relates to air and the RevPas.

Gordon Wilson

David, just a clarity for everybody. We have an agreement with Transkela and one of our competitors business so they're getting the benefit of rack rate pricing with them, that's not in our numbers. We've got the deal with them with that airline, as indeed we have with them, IAG and the Lufthansa as well. And to answer your questions in RevPas. Overall the 7% growth in RevPas, about one point of that is due to Air, the rest is due to Beyond Air and within Beyond Air it's largely eNett.

David Togut

I appreciate the clarification. If I could weave in one final question. The 24% decline in free cash flow year over year in the quarter, Bernard, any callouts in that that might be one-time in nature? In other words, is that more of an unusual free cash flow quarter that we just saw? Or were there some items in there that might be ongoing?

Bernard Bot

Yes, I think, there were indeed some number of unusual, one which I also called out in the prepared remarks. We had higher interest payments, about 10 million, and that's really related to the bond, which has a semiannual instead of a quarterly installment. And then you get movements in working capital, which can be either plus or negative in any quarter. So that was another 13 million, so that was unusual, I would say. If you look at year to date, we're about 10% down on free cash flow if I then look forward for the full year as we've guided, we expect free cash flow to be at the lower end of the 210 million to 230 million range, which still be up about 5% on prior year. So, it's really a little bit of a timing blip in this specific quarter.


The next question is from the line of Ashish Sabadra with Deutsche Bank. Please go ahead.

Ashish Sabadra

Maybe one basic question around Beyond Air if I exclude eNett, the growth there was pretty declined, and I think you called out lower digital revenues, when do we see those headwinds moderating? And when can that business start to turn around?

Gordon Wilson

Well, I think Ashish in terms of that business growing a bit better. Similar things I mentioned in terms of the new hotel booking product we put out there, the hotel retail app within Smartpoint, which gives in one place analytics capability of all the rate types that hotels have, negotiated, loyalty members rates, prepaid rates, et cetera. Our anticipation is that will help us to drive further hotel bookings. And I think the other thing is what we're doing in digital, which is pivoting much more to more white label products for our travel agency customers and to a degree airlines, which are more transaction-based revenues and sort of how you drive bookings as opposed to being paid trough the mobile app itself, per se. And again, I think what we've done in Trip Assist, which is our white label mobile app for agencies putting in hotel booking capabilities should also help us to attach more hotels. And for the first time, we'll actually see what consumers are doing as opposed to being one step removed, which is where we've always traditionally been.

So I think those are the kind of things that will kind of help drive that business going forward. And as Bernard said in his remarks, we're quite pleased our attachment rates are 48/100 airline tickets, especially, given the fact that we've proportionally put on more air-only OTAs into our business. So it's not where we want it to be at this point in time, to be fair. But with the new product investments that we've put in we think that will help us to gain traction in this space, and we're coming from a high base. We think our attachments rates are the highest in the industry already.

Ashish Sabadra

And maybe a tough question, but just at a very high level, right. Look, there are some challenges in the business, decisions by some of your clients to move away or some of your geographic footprint, but the performance has been challenging, and the stock performance, obviously, has been challenging. The stock has still under the IPO price back in 2014 and it hasn't really recovered. Given all of these background, would the Board consider any kind of strategic alternatives? Or anything to help unlock shareholder value?

Gordon Wilson

Such a fishing question, if ever there was one, Ashish. And, of course, I'm not going to answer that.


[Operator Instructions] The next question is from the line of Dan Wasiolek with Morningstar. Please go ahead.

Dan Wasiolek

Just wondering, looking at the segment internationally in the U.S. Could you maybe give some color on the timing of when you lapped the Flight Centre winter migration? And also Orbitz, you said that's fully rolled off, what was the headwind to that for U.S. segment this past quarter?

Gordon Wilson

Yes, it's a fair question. Let's just give you some context and the international segments to the market as a whole and grew 1.1% in GDS terms in the last quarter, whereas United States grew 6.7%. And so quite unusually strong U. S. growth. The overall GDS market grew by 3.7%. So in the U.S., we don't have a huge footprint in the U.S., we don't have any footprint in U.S. for air really now with Expedia and Expedia is a large component of the U.S. marketplace. And generally speaking, Expedia and a couple of other big OTAs are growing faster than the rest of the marketplace. So that means that our share moves when we haven't won or lost anything, but we've kind of some customers are good, some agencies in the market are growing faster than others. So we didn't get the full benefit of the U.S. growth rate in all honesty, and also we are not the biggest player in United States.

We're neck and neck in the No. 2 position. So one of our competitors disproportionate gains and gained share because they're big in a market, which grew at 6.7% during that period of time. And the Expedia Orbitz business has now virtually all rolled off and there's a dribble left, I think, but it's not very much. Although I would stress we did do car and hotel bookings in America and elsewhere with Expedia that do air. And then internationally, to complete the picture, the European GDS market contracted by 4% year over year, and some markets like Germany were down 5%, Holland was down 3%, U.K. was down 2%, Russia was down 9%. In fact, the only major market in Europe that's up was Spain and that was up 1%.

Now some of that, I think, was the heat wave that we've called out in Northern Europe and in also to a degree the world cup football, because you can quite clearly see that when the football was on, bookings declined quite sharply, because people stayed at home fairly enough but then that was compounded with the heat wave. So that may come back a bit, but it was a kind of an unforeseen drop in the European marketplace. The Asian marketplace was growing and very nicely. The market in Asia grew 13%. We, Travelport, grew by 24%. And when I say Asia, I'm not including Australasia, where obviously we contracted the regions, so everybody knows. So you're in a world whereby the Asian market was $44 million bookings -- air bookings in Quarter 3 growing at 13%. The U.S. market is $98 million air bookings at the moment, growing at 6.7%. So U.S. markets is twice as big. So if you're bigger in the U.S. your share will grow. If you're bigger in Asia, even though you're growing even past the market base, your share doesn't grow on an overall basis. But that's going to change, as Asia continues to grow that kind of rate going forward. I hope that was helpful.

Dan Wasiolek

Yes, that was helpful. I mean in regards to Flight Centre, just as a reminder, when does that fully lap for you guys, that headwind?

Bernard Bot

In 2019, so we'll still see a bit of a dribble in the last quarter, but we've had the biggest part of it. And then in '19, it will be entirely done.


This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Mr. Wilson for any closing remarks.

Gordon Wilson

And all I'd like to say is, just pay tribute to all the Travelport people, who are working so hard around the world to deliver these kind of results and the forward momentum in our business. Going forward particularly through 2020, which is really what we're aiming at and we'll look forward to coming back in February to tell you how we did for the full year and most important, to give you guidance for 2019. So thank you very much for your time and attention today.


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