Macquarie Airports gains ground as profits soar - share wrap

Macquarie Airports (MAp) yesterday unveiled an 87% surge in net profit for the six months ended 31-Dec-08, thanks largely to the sale of shares in some of its investment airports. Its shares rose 5% yesterday.

It has been an interesting week for MAp. Earlier, the airport fund announced the scrapping of its share buy-back plan, so it could pump more equity into Sydney Airport to reduce its debt load. Some analysts have welcomed the move to deleverage and reduce debt costs at a time when cash holdings generate minimal returns. MAp CEO, Kerrie Mather, pointed to an added advantage - the airport's management can now focus on running the business rather than chasing banks for funds.

MAp has meanwhile foreshadowed further cost cuts and outsourcing, particularly at its European airports, to help counter some of the unknowns about the traffic outlook.

Selected airports daily share price movements (% change): 25-Feb-09