Big pay-out from Queenstown Airport

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The Wakatipu community will receive a $2.46 million pay-out from Queenstown Airport Corporation’s first-ever dividend.

A statement from QAC today (Friday) says record passenger numbers, increased aircraft movements and strong revenue from commercial activities helped bolster the amount that shareholders will receive.

Operating revenue for the year ended June 30, 2011, increased 17 per cent to $15.6m and the 2011earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $9m – a 31.1 per cent increase over the 2010 EBITDA of $7.54m.

As a result, shareholders of QAC – Queenstown Lakes District Council and Auckland International Airport – will receive $3.28m and $821,000 respectively, next year.

The amount exceeds the originally-anticipated figure of $1.5m-plus, which was revealed with QAC’s dividend policy in May.

The first-ever pay-out stems from the secret June 2010 strategic alliance between QAC and Auckland Airport, when AIAL bought a 24.99 per cent share for $27.7m.

The deal sparked an outcry within some areas of the community – with a local group of powerful businessmen trying to stop the deal through the High Court. The matter was later settled out of court.

This year’s net profit after tax (NPAT) of $4.58M represents a lift of 22.1% over
normalised NPAT of $3.75M in 2010, acting board chairman Murray Valentine says.

“The Airport saw a record 924,248 scheduled passengers travel – up 14 per cent on the previous year. International passengers were up 50 per cent at 161,089, while domestic passengers rose 8.5 per cent with 767,159 passengers moving through the Airport.”

Airport CEO Steve Sanderson says the seat capacity in and out of Queenstown grew by 14 per cent to 1.176m over the past year.

Retail spend, in particular in the areas of food and beverage and duty free increased and demand from rental car operators remains positive.

“Queenstown Airport has consolidated its position as the second largest base of New Zealand rental car operations and this activity is going from strength to strength,” Sanderson says.

The continued growth of the airport has also accelerated the company’s master plan.

“Queenstown Airport continues to grow and the year ahead is very exciting,” Sanderson says.