Auckland Airport Profit Up, Upbeat On Outlook

February 28, 2012

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New Zealand's Auckland International Airport reported a 5.5 percent rise in half year profit on strong growth in international passengers and said it expected a hefty rise in full year profits.

The airport, which handles around three-quarters of New Zealand's international traffic, said it had seen growth across all parts of its business and expected that to continue, leading to increased earnings.

"We have seen rising travel demand across all four of our airport interests, and we have helped to stimulate that demand by encouraging sustainable growth in our air service capacity," said the company's chair Joan Withers.

The airport operator reported a net profit of NZD$69.1 million (USD$58.1 million) in the six months to December 31, compared with NZD$65.5 million the previous year.

Excluding one-off costs, including the unrealised losses on property values and the impact of tax changes, the airport's profit was up 15 percent to NZD$70.8 million.

Operating revenue rose 9 percent, boosted by higher retail revenue and parking income. Costs rose 15 percent, in part associated with attracting new airlines to the airport and coping with increased passengers visiting for the Rugby World Cup.

The company, which has a 24.5 percent stake in two Australian airports and in Queenstown, said it expected full year profit in the high NZD$130 million range, against last year's NZD$100.7 million.

It increased its dividend payout to 4.4 cents a share from 4.0 cents per share last year.

Last month the company said it had handled a record 170,000 international visitors in the first week of the year.

The company has put the building of a second runway at Auckland on hold, while it has said it needs to look at new facilities.

It said it expected to make a decision on redeveloping the domestic terminal, which is near capacity, in the next few months.

(Reuters)