MAHB says it has enough cash to sustain operations for next 15 months

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is confident that it would be able to navigate shocks like COVID-19 with its strong cash flow.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said the airport operator has managed to secure over RM1.35 billion worth of revolving credit facilities from five banks.

The group also has unutilised sukuk worth RM1.8 billion, as well as cash in hand of between RM1.3 billion and RM1.4 billion, he told a media conference after MAHB's 22nd annual general meeting today.

Altogether, these financial options would allow MAHB to sustain its operations for the next 12 to 15 months, he said.

Group chief financial officer Mohamed Rastam Shahrom said there were already signs that the market's recovery will start in 2022, with a full recovery expected to be achieved in 2023.

"So, that's about 12-15 months and if we work it out, in that sense, the debt (situation) is 'okay' as the cash burn will continue to decrease” and with the start of passenger traffic following the easing of travel restrictions, it (the cash burn) will drop even further to about RM40 million.

"So, even in a 10-month horizon, assuming the current position remaining the same, we are looking at about a RM500 million cash burn, however, our credit facilities far exceeded the amount of aggregated cash but of course, we hope that things will improve significantly, and much quicker than what we expect.

"MAHB would actually be very comfortable over the next 10-12 months with the credit lines that we have," Mohamed Rastam said.

The airport operator’s financial year 2022 (FY2022) is expected to be better compared to FY2021, depending on how quickly interstate borders open.

As for the fourth quarter of (Q4) FY2021, the group is hoping to narrow its losses.

"In Q1, Q2, and Q3, the lockdown (has been strict), so we don't even have interstate travelling.

"In Q4 hopefully with the opening up of Langkawi and of course other interstate borders, we can see a bit of momentum in terms of passenger traffic that will cushion the impact of our losses. So, that's why we are cautiously optimistic on that quarter," he said.

The group posted a net loss of RM1.11 billion in FY2020 from a net profit of RM537.04 million in the previous year.

Revenue fell to RM1.87 billion against RM5.21 billion registered previously due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s global impact and the prolonged movement restrictions in Malaysia and other countries.

Chairman Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir said MAHB is hoping that the government can consider opening up ASEAN as well as other international sectors to allow more people to travel, depending on the COVID-19 situation.

"If the government relax its travel policy a bit more, we might see an upward trend as far as the passenger movement is concerned," he said.

MAHB is also planning to have direct involvement in the cargo sector and is now talking to a potential partner.

At present, there are three players in the industry, Post Aviation, GTR (Ground Team Red), and Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MasKargo).

MAHB expects air cargo volume to double to 1.4 million tonnes by 2029 from the current 700,000 tonnes at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

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