Australia's Macquarie Airports sees rise in 2007 distribution; lifts Sydney stake


Sydney (XFN-ASIA) - Macquarie Airports Ltd said it expects

to distribute to shareholders 0.26 aud per security this year, up from 0.25

aud in 2006.

The Macquarie Bank-managed global airport investor, which has interests in Sydney, Rome, Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels and Copenhagen, said the distribution guidance is based on a long term traffic growth forecast of 4-5 pct, enhanced revenue yields through commercial initiatives and the delivery of further operational efficiencies.

The guidance is also subject to external shocks to the aviation industry or any material changes in the forecast assumptions.

The company announced a final distribution of 0.12 aud per security for 2006, which took its annual
distribution to 0.25 aud, up from 0.20 aud in 2005.

MAp chief executive Kerrie Mather said her company delivered on the key performance targets set for 2006 including 4.7 pct traffic growth.

MAp reported its net profit for the year ended December fell 10.4 pct to 600.5 mln aud from 670.4 mln in 2005.

Mather said the outlook is positive and capital management will be a key focus for MAp over the next 12 months.

"We continue to seek acquisitions which meet our strict investment criteria and will explore the option of returning capital to shareholders," Mather said.

This includes MAp's decision to exercise its call option over Ferrovial Infrastructures SA's 20.9 pct interest in Sydney Airport which is subject to the existing preemptive arrangements among other
shareholders in Sydney Airport.

Mather anticipates that the other shareholders will exercise their preemptive rights in full, leaving the likely additional interest in Sydney Airport acquired by MAp to be 15.1 pct for a purchase price of around 663 mln aud.

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