Qantas Airways: Financial Modelling and Dividend Policy
In 2014, Australia's national airline Qantas Airways Limited (Qantas) faced one of the most difficult years in its history. Following a loss of AU$2.8 billion, the airline's chief executive officer asserted that government intervention was necessary. He wanted the government to publicly guarantee the airline's debt, which would secure its credit rating and provide relief in challenging circumstances. His efforts were unsuccessful. Qantas instead embarked on a structural review and company transformation, seeking to repair its balance sheet and improve free cash flow. On August 23, 2016, having completed one of Australia's largest and most public corporate turnarounds, Qantas announced AU$1.53 billion in underlying profit. Inevitably, questions arose as to how Qantas would reward long-suffering shareholders. Having overcome trying financial problems, Qantas was facing a different challenge: whether, and how, to return cash to shareholders, having not paid a dividend for seven years. Angelo Aspris is affiliated with University of Sydney.