Christchurch International Airport announce FY2008-09 financial results

CIAL profit down but operations steady despite recession Christchurch International Airport Ltd’s annual result was announced at the company’s AGM on Wednesday, with an after tax net profit of $14.7 million. While it was down on last year’s $23.4 million profit, the airport had an increased operating revenue of $89.9 million, up 5.6% on the previous year’s $85.1 million operating revenue.

CIAL chairman David Mackenzie said that what had hurt the company’s after tax profit this year were some earlier terminal design cost write-offs which had to be accounted for, and falling property market values which affected the value of some properties owned by CIAL.

On the up side, CIAL actually had a small increase in passenger numbers, unlike many other airports. A major cause of the relatively stable numbers of passenger movements was the increasing number of tourists coming through Christchurch, particularly Australians taking short skiing holidays in the South Island over the winter. “The trans-Tasman tourism numbers had a dramatic increase over this last year, which boosts our reputation as New Zealand’s tourism gateway,” said Mr Mackenzie.

Operating performance (EBITDA) at $55.5 million was 5.2% up on the previous year, excluding the revaluation of investment property. The dividend payout was $12.9 million, but Mr Mackenzie noted that the dividend paid post financial year end would reflect the lower profitability of 2008/09. The company invested $31.9 million in airfield, terminal, car parking and property projects.

“The company is concerned to compensate for the volatility of aeronautical income,” said Mr Mackenzie. “It is actively working to diversify and grow its commercial business operations to provide more stable sources of income.”

Over the last year, the company had to work through the consultation process with airline customers for the new Integrated Terminal Development project. There has been a resolution of outstanding issues, with the subsequent awarding of the construction contract to Hawkins Construction Ltd. “The new terminal will boost the image of the airport, Christchurch, and the South Island when it is completed,” said Mr Mackenzie, “consolidating the company’s position as New Zealand’s tourism gateway.”

Mr Mackenzie noted that the airport has gained international recognition in the aviation industry, twice being awarded honours as having the best marketing in the Asia Pacific region. Some changes in management through the last year included the resignation of Rene Bakx as chief executive, and the appointment of former CIAL director Jim Boult as the new Chief Executive. A former member, and Deputy Chairman, of the board of Tourism New Zealand, Jim Boult has had extensive business interests in many fields, including tourism, financial services, property, automotive, publishing and hospitality.

“We are pleased that for this next challenging phase, Jim will bring his considerable experience and business skills to the role of Chief Executive,” said Mr Mackenzie. “The next few years will be demanding for the company, and we are confident that CIAL will be successful in its business goals. We are investing and planning for the future, and when the company’s plans and projects come to fruition, the company, and Christchurch, will reap the benefits.”

Major projects underway or soon to start include the new terminal, a new Regional facility for turbo-prop aircraft, and a $9.5 million development of retail shops in the international terminal.