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Strong year-end result for Auckland Int. Airport

Strong year-end result for Auckland International Airport Limited

Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) today announced a surplus after tax of $94.3 million for the year ended June 2004. The year saw passenger movements exceed 10 million for the first time and the company embark on a number of significant security and capacity enhancement projects.

The airport company increased its surplus after tax by 22.8 per cent on the previous year's $76.8 million (excluding a non-recurring item of $6.7 million), to $94.3 million. Revenue was up 15.0 per cent to $262.4 million. Growth occurred across the board in both the aeronautical and non-aeronautical areas of the business.

Airport chief executive Don Huse said, "Unprecedented levels of passenger activity mean terminal and apron facilities are operating near capacity at peak times. A number of expansion projects have been initiated to ensure service standards are maintained."

Based on project work in progress and current planning, the airport company said capital expenditure through the next three years is estimated to average about $125 million per year.

AIAL chairman Wayne Boyd commented, "The company's continuing strong financial position provides directors with the confidence that the continuing development programme can be funded from retained cash flows and increased debt, within prudent limits.

"Also reflecting this confidence, the directors consider it appropriate to increase the dividend payout ratio to 90 per cent of the surplus after tax. Accordingly, a fully imputed final dividend of 17.3 cents per share (amounting to $52.8 million) has been declared."

This comes on top of an interim dividend of 10.5 cents per share, paid in March, taking total dividends this year to 27.8 cents per share, up from 22 cents the previous financial year.

AIAL's property division has, during the year, completed nine investment properties, increasing the property portfolio to total 46, with a market value of $157.7 million. "Significantly, the investment property portfolio increased in value by $8.6 million - this revaluation gain is recorded through revaluation reserves and not included in the surplus after tax result," Wayne Boyd said.

The total number of passengers through the port increased 14.1 per cent to 10,757,506 (including transit passengers), with international passenger movements up 13.9 per cent to 6,116,655 and domestic movements up 14.4 per cent to 4,640,851.

Don Huse commented that New Zealand remains a very popular tourism destination, "Overall demand was widened and stimulated by extremely competitive fare structures and strong marketing initiatives by new airlines, together with the introduction by Air New Zealand of its lower-fare Pacific Class international services. These services have provided travellers, especially on trans-Tasman routes, with a wider range of lower fare and schedule options."

Recently, the company completed a successful retail bond issue which saw $200 million raised to refinance existing debt for the airport's capital programme and for general company funding.

AIAL revealed that passenger numbers have also continued to grow strongly since the end of the financial year. International numbers were up 14.6 per cent in July, and domestic increased by 9.6 per cent.

Wayne Boyd added, "The directors are of the view that for the 2005 financial year, a surplus after tax result in line with current market expectations of at least $100.0 million can be achieved."

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