MAHB profit up 74% boosted by event management


BY IZWAN IDRIS

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has reported a 74.6% jump in pre-tax profit to RM118.4mil in the first quarter ended March 31 from RM67.8mil in the same period a year ago. 

The growth is attributable to a 10-fold increase in contribution from its event management unit. 

Group revenue during the period under review grew 6.4% to RM312mil from RM293.3mil previously. 

The event management segment's pre-tax profit soared 914% to RM50.5mil from RM5mil. 

The substantial increase was attributed to lower event staging costs of the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix 2003, a MAHB statement said yesterday. 

“Despite the strong performance in the first quarter, MAHB is bracing itself to weather the tough operating environment brought about mainly by global external factors. 

“The group's financial performance is highly dependent on the airport services segment,'' it said. 

At MAHB AGM in Sepang earlier, chairman Tan Sri Basir Ismail told reporters he expected the group performance for the current year ending Dec 31 to be lower than last year due to a significant drop in passenger volume at the KL International Airport (KLIA). 

“The full extent of the financial impact would be dependent on how the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak affects the demand for air travel during the remaining period of the year.'' 

Basir said that in April, the overall passenger movement at airports operated by MAHB had declined 17.8% year-on-year. 

International passenger volume for all its airports had slumped 39.9%, with volume at KLIA having dropped by 36.9%. 

The domestic segment was, however, relatively resilient, registering a slight drop of 2.1%. 

“We expect the decline to continue in May. However the outlook for June is better,'' Basir said, but added that he did not expect the passenger traffic this year to surpass last year's 33.7 million. 

In its statement, MAHB said passenger movement at its airports in the first quarter grew by 8.4% to 8.5 million passengers. 

Its airport services segment registered a 6.4% growth in turnover to RM163.6mil, while pre-tax profit improved 18.1% to RM68.2mil. 

Basir said MAHB would continue to woo new airlines to use its facilities at KLIA. 

He said Australian Airlines, Philippine Airlines and several Middle East-based carriers were expected to start flights to Malaysia later this year. 

MAHB operates 38 airports in the country, including KLIA. 

As of December 2002, 40 airlines serving 82 destinations operate from KLIA. 

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