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15 Feb 2017

International passenger growth drives 13% rise in dividends

Christchurch Airport is reporting an increased profit for the six months to 31 December as a result of strong international passenger growth.

The net surplus after tax of $18.3m for the six months to 31 December 2016 was an increase of 13% compared with the same period last year ($16.2m), has resulted in the Board proposing to pay an interim dividend of $16.4 million, also up 13% year on year

The airport's total operating revenue of $86.4 million increased by 6.5% year on year (excluding the International Antarctic Centre tourist attraction revenue from the prior year, which was sold in October 2015), with aeronautical revenue of $42.5 million up 6.4% and non-aeronautical revenue of $43.9 million up 6.6%.

Earnings before interest tax and depreciation (EBITDA) grew to $53.3 million ($50.8 in prior period.)

Total passenger movements increased by 135,392 (4.4%) for the period, producing a record for the first six months of a financial year at 3.24 million.

Christchurch International Airport Limited (CIAL) chairman David Mackenzie says the first six months of the financial year have shown good growth in both the aeronautical and
non-aeronautical sides of the business and that has seen the Board able to lift interim dividends to shareholders by 13%.

Christchurch Airport chief executive Malcolm Johns says while domestic passenger numbers have grown by 3.2%, international passenger numbers have risen by around 8%, with a number of new international air services introduced in November and December.

"New or increased services from China Southern Airlines, Emirates (A380), Qantas and Fiji Airways have increased our connections to key regional airport hubs and driven strong international visitor growth into the South Island and New Zealand.

"Passport data shows a +53% growth in arrivals by Hong Kong residents, +37% from Chinese nationals, +32% from Indonesians, +25% from Taiwanese, +24% from Koreans, +15% from Japan and +14% from Germans.

"Pleasingly, the work our team has been doing with the regions of the South Island in China, South East Asia and Australia has seen this growth spread to regions such as the West Coast, Nelson/Marlborough, Dunedin and the South Coast.

"We are seeing a higher proportion of Chinese FITs (free independent travellers), who are younger, spending more and exploring more on our China services."

Mr Johns says the airport company expects to welcome a record 6.7m passengers in
the full financial year, up from 6.3m last year and 5.9m the previous year.