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Auckland Airport half-year profit up 19pc

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/02/2017 Jonathan Underhill

Auckland International Airport has posted a 19 per cent 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 December 31, from $104m a year earlier, the company said on Friday.

Sales rose 11 per cent to $311m.

International passenger numbers grew by 13 per cent to 5.1 million in the first half, driven by a 17 per cent gain in airline capacity, while domestic passengers rose by 12 per cent to $4.3m.

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 would contribute to growth in the second half.

The airport lifted its guidance for underlying profit before one-time items in 2017 to a range of $235 m to $243m, from a previous range of $230m to $240m.

At the same time the company raised its capital expenditure guidance to between $370m and $400m, including $240 million of aeronautical spending. The spend range from previously $330m to $370m.

"This investment is essential given the substantial growth in the number of passengers and also the number of airlines servicing Auckland," said chairman Henry van der Heyden.

The number of international airlines at Auckland Airport had increased by 50 per cent in only 18 months.

"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 per cent 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 per cent.

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