State-owned Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has again reported a profit in its latest annual results, for the 2018/19 financial year (FY). However, that profit, of R227-million, was 58.9% down on the profit of R552-million achieved during FY2017/18. Acting CEO (Ms) Bongiwe Mbomvu affirmed, at the company’s results presentation on Tuesday, that “[w]e enter FY2020 with a healthy balance sheet”.
ACSA’s revenues, R7.1-billion, were up 5.6% on those of the previous financial year (R6.7-billion). The company divides its revenues into aeronautical and non-aeronautical. Under aeronautical, landing fees were up 5%, passenger service charges rose by 7% and aircraft parking fees jumped 14%. Non-aeronautical revenues also increased.
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) fell by 4.6%, to R2.8-billion in FY2018/19 from R3-billion in FY2017/18. The value of the company’s total assets declined by 5%, to R32-billiion from R33-billion.
“We experienced some cost pressures on operational costs,” said acting CFO (Ms) Lindani Mukhufwani in part-explanation of the fall in profit and Ebitda. From FY2017/18 to FY2018/19 employee costs jumped 17%, utilities costs rose 7%, security costs rocketed 54% (due to regulatory changes which required new security measures), repairs and maintenance went up 13% and information systems expenses increased by 15%. Another contributory issue, she noted, was “fair value issues”, the fair value of ACSA’s investment properties dropping by 125% year-on-year.
However, the company’s debt continued to fall. ACSA’s gearing ratio fell to 18%, from 25% in the previous financial year. In numbers, it stood at R7-billion in the reported period as against R9-billion in FY2017/18.
“As a business, we only borrow for specific purposes,” she stated. The company would start borrowing again in the near future, to fund specific projects. One such project was the planned re-alignment of Cape Town International Airport’s runway.
ACSA owns and operates nine airports in South Africa, has equity investments in international airports in Brazil (São Paulo) and India (Mumbai) and provides technical, advisory and consultancy services to airports in Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda, Zambia and in South Africa – to non-ACSA Oribi Airport in Pietermaritzburg. The company has received a fair and reasonable offer for its investment in Mumbai and so is pursuing this opportunity.
“I do want to emphasise the fact that the business is stable, that the business is in good hands,” assured Mbomvu. “We are OK!” ACSA is the only State-owned company that pays dividends. Coincidently or not, it is also the only one run by women.