AOT profits jump 41% to B10.4bn on robust travel in 2006
Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT) posted a 41% jump in net profit for its 2006 fiscal year to 10.4 billion baht, well above analysts' forecasts. The robust growth was driven by higher passenger numbers, foreign-exchange gains and more flights coming through its five airports in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai.
Aircraft movements in the fiscal year ending on Sept 30 increased 5.9%, passenger movements rose 9.54%, and cargo throughput volume grew 6.88%, according to an AoT statement.
Also helping were initial operating results from Suvarnabhumi Airport, which opened on Sept 28.
The majority state-owned airport operator made a foreign-exchange gain of 2.79 billion baht, up from 2.21 billion a year ago, due to the weaker yen and dollar.
The increased activities boosted AoT's revenue by 9.18% year-on-year to 16.26 billion baht.
However, expenses increased 29.9% to 9.42 billion baht due to increased costs involving manpower, public relations, and a noise pollution study at Suvarnabhumi.
Earnings per share rose to 7.26 baht from 5.19 baht in the previous year.
The results came as a surprise to many analysts who had projected a net profit of around 9.8 billion baht.
But they expect AoT's earnings for the 2007 financial year to dip due to higher costs involving the maintenance and improvement of Suvarnabhumi. It also must pay more than 7 billion baht in compensation to communities around the airport that can't stand the noise from planes landing and taking off.
Higher costs may offset higher revenue from increased traffic through Suvarnabhumi and increases in landing and parking fees and passenger service charges.
AoT in April will raise landing and parking charges by 15%. The extra fees were supposed to be charged when Suvarnabhumi opened, but were delayed for six months to provide financial relief to airlines already burdened with extra costs of about 3.5 billion baht to move to the new site.
In February, AoT will increase passenger service charges. The fee for domestic flights will double to 100 baht per person, and to 700 baht from 500 baht now for international flights.
Shares of AoT closed yesterday on the SET at 65 baht, down 2.50 baht, in trade worth 369 million baht.
Source: Bangkok Post by Boonsong Kositchotethana, December 01, 2006