AOT profit dented by cut in forex gain
Quarterly earnings fall 32% to Bt340m as costs increase
Airports of Thailand's consolidated net profit for the quarter ending December 31 slumped 32.57 per cent year on year to Bt340.76 million, due mainly to a sharp decline in foreign-exchange gains.
The company operates five international airports, in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Hat Yai.
Given its higher depreciation and amortisation as well as the unsettled controversy with King Power Duty Free, AOT in its 2007 financial year posted a net profit of Bt1.09 billion, down significantly from Bt10.47 billion in 2006.
The airports operator said in a filing with the Stock Exchange of Thailand yesterday that its quarterly foreign-exchange gain had taken a 95.6-per-cent dive to Bt47.26 million from Bt1.05 billion in same period a year earlier.
Also adding to AOT's costs was an increase in interest-rate expenses due to additional cross-currency swaps and higher operating costs.
Interest paid between October 1 and December 31 rose 10.08 per cent year on year to Bt647.79 million.
AOT saw its operating expenses in the period surge by 9.3 per cent to Bt4.26 billion, resulting from a 12.36-per-cent year-on-year rise in depreciation and amortisation to Bt1.94 billion.
A 32.79-per-cent increase in operating revenue to Bt5.41 billion partly offset the steep drop in foreign-exchange gain, higher interest expenses and depreciation and amortisation.
Aeronautical revenue in the first quarter of the current fiscal year jumped 39.57 per cent to Bt1.08 billion, driven by continuous growth of air traffic.
"An increase in the passenger service charges for domestic and international passengers since February 1, 2007, and the landing and parking fees since April 1, 2007, was also a part of the increase in AOT's revenues," the company said.
Non-aeronautical revenue increased 18.92 per cent year on year to Bt253.36 million, due to increased office and state property rentals, services and concession revenues.
Asia Plus Securities said in a note that it had recommended "buy" on Airports of Thailand stock, with a fair value of Bt64.20 per share. The broker is positive that the conflict with King Power will be settled out of court and that AOT is highly likely to book revenues from King Power this financial year.
AOT has yet to realise Bt3.6 billion in income from King Power in its 2007 financial year.
"If the company resumes realising income from King Power in its 2008 financial year, AOT's yearly net profit estimate is expected to increase from Bt399 million to Bt7.61 billion," the broker said.
Source: The Nation
Friday February 15, 2008