Con­tra­dic­tory air­port re­view

The Weekend Post - - Views - Nick Dal­ton nick.dal­

IT ap­pears Auck­land Air­port wants out of its stake in North Queens­land Air­ports which in­cludes highly prof­itable Cairns.

But the New Zealand Stock Ex­change listed com­pany is not mak­ing a de­ci­sion yet.

In its an­nual re­port pub­lished this week the air­port made a con­flict­ing state­ment.

“We be­lieve NQA is a highly at­trac­tive as­set and a great in­vest­ment with a strong growth strat­egy and a new and highly ca­pa­ble man­age­ment team.

“How­ever, our re­view has con­firmed that, while NQA is a qual­ity as­set, it is not in­te­gral to our cur­rent busi­ness strat­egy.”

The air­port would not be drawn on the fu­ture of its 24.55 per cent share.

Auck­land Air­port chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Phil Neutze said the com­pany was fo­cussing on “grow­ing New Zealand travel, trade and tourism” but re­fused to say whether it would sell its share in NQA, which also is say­ing noth­ing.

“We will not be mak­ing any fur­ther com­ment on our share­hold­ing in North Queens­land Air­ports,” Mr Neutze said.

Auck­land re­ceived $11 mil­lion in net profit share from NQA plus a fur­ther $14.1 mil­lion in div­i­dends, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual re­port.

NQA’s to­tal rev­enue for the 2017 fi­nan­cial year was $142.7 mil­lion (up $8.1m on 2016), earn­ings were $87.3m, (up $3.5m) and net profit was $46.8m (after a loss of $54.8m in 2016).

Cairns Air­port is a key driver of the re­gion’s tourism in­dus­try and any buyer of Auck­land’s stake would be in­vest­ing in a very bright fu­ture.

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