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FIRST CUT: Auckland Airport, on front line of tourism boom, lifts first-half profit by 19%

Friday 17th February 2017

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Auckland International Airport posted a 19 percent gain in first-half profit, a period when New Zealand's busiest gateway added airlines with increased capacity and new services and routes, and the country enjoyed record tourist numbers.

Underlying profit rose to $123.5 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $104 million a year earlier, the airport company said in a statement. Sales rose 11 percent to $311 million. Profit beat Forsyth Barr's forecast of $119 million, while revenue was in line with the brokerage's estimate.

International passenger numbers grew by 13 percent to 5.1 million in the first half, driven by a 17 percent gain in airline capacity, while domestic passengers rose by 12 percent to $4.3 million. The airport welcomed four new airlines and five new services in its first half and now has a stable of 27 airlines, 44 international and 19 domestic destinations.  New additions Hong Kong Airlines, Tianjin Airlines and Hainan Airlines will contribute to growth in the second half of the year, it said today.

The airport lifted its guidance for underlying profit before one-time items in 2017 to a range of $235 million to $243 million, from a previous range of $230 million to $240 million. At the same time the company raised its capital expenditure guidance to between $370 million and $400 million, including $240 million of aeronautical spending. The spend range from previously $330 million to $370 million.

“This investment is essential given the substantial growth in the number of passengers and also the number of airlines servicing Auckland – the number of international airlines at Auckland Airport has increased by 50 percent in only 18 months," said chairman Henry van der Heyden. "This growth is now flowing throughout New Zealand and it is important our tourism sector adjusts quickly to ensure our country can sustain the growth and maintain the quality of its tourism product."

The company lifted its first-half dividend by about 18 percent to 10 cents a share. Its shares last traded at $6.75 and have about matched the S&P/NZX 50 Index's gain in the past 12 months, rising 16 percent.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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