KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 28): Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's (MAHB) full year net loss narrowed to RM766.44 million from RM1.12 billion a year earlier as fourth quarter net loss shrank and revenue jumped, helped by the easing of global Covid-19 pandemic-driven movement restrictions, which led to a significant increase in MAHB's passenger volume for during the quarter.
"The group’s revenue for the current quarter ended Dec 31, 2021 (FY21) increased significantly by 109.1% over the corresponding quarter in the prior year to RM551.3 million in tandem with the significant increase in passenger volumes for the group with the easing of the Movement Control Order, interstate travel and introduction of Vaccinated Travel Lane in Malaysia coupled with continued positive recovery momentum in Turkey.
"The group's loss before tax (LBT) narrowed to RM215 million, a significant improvement as compared to a higher LBT of RM1.08 billion in the corresponding quarter in the prior year due to higher revenue by 109.1% coupled with lower core operational expenses by 8%," MAHB said in a Bursa Malaysia filing on Monday (Feb 28).
Higher LBT a year earlier was also contributed by the impairment of RM500.4 million in MAHB's Turkish asset Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG) concession rights, according to MAHB.
For 4QFY21, MAHB said group net loss narrowed to RM136.73 million from a net loss of RM685.02 million a year earlier.
MAHB said revenue rose to RM551.34 million from RM263.64 million a year earlier.
For the full year, MAHB said cumulative full year FY21 net loss narrowed to RM766.44 million from RM1.12 billion a year earlier although revenue fell to RM1.67 billion from RM1.87 billion.
On a quarterly basis, MAHB's 4QFY21 LBT shrank while revenue increased from the preceding 3QFY21.
"The group's revenue for the current quarter under review increased by 19.5% to RM551.3 million against RM461.3 million in the immediate preceding quarter due to an improvement (in) passenger traffic for Malaysia operations coupled with higher international passenger volumes for Turkey operations.
"The group LBT of RM215 million narrowed as compared to LBT of RM254.9 million in the immediate preceding quarter due to increase in revenue, increase in other income and decrease in finance cost," MAHB said.
For the full year, MAHB said its network of airports recorded 36.1 million passengers in FY21, a contraction of 16% from a year earlier.
For FY21, the group said its traffic for international and domestic passengers contracted 30.4% and 8.5% respectively.
"Correspondingly, the group’s aircraft movements decreased by 12.9% with both international and domestic aircraft movements decreasing by 11.2% and 13.6% respectively," MAHB said.
"The group’s traffic for the current quarter under review from Oct 1, 2021 to Dec 31, 2021 grew by 43.4% to 14.2 million passengers as gradual travel relaxation measures were implemented in Malaysia," MAHB said.
Looking ahead, MAHB said it is cautiously optimistic in forecasting gradual passenger traffic recovery in 2022 as the airport operator takes into account factors including lingering Covid-19 pandemic concerns and Covid-19 vaccine progress.
Among others, the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) and introduction of several new domestic routes will continue to drive passenger traffic recovery in the near term.
Cost optimisation is also a key concern for MAHB.
"These measures include recalibrating operational efficiencies i.e. rebasing cost and prioritising capital expenditure to conserve cash reserves and ensure that the group is able to meet its financial and operational obligations.
"As at Dec 31, 2021, the group had achieved a further reduction of 11% of the core operational expenses or RM172.3 million in addition to the 26% or RM575.5 million achieved in the prior year," MAHB said.
In a separate statement, MAHB said that specifically for Malaysia, travel demand arising from the VTL programme with Singapore, and Umrah travel are expected to result in an increase in international passenger movements.
MAHB said the group also views the impending re-opening of Malaysia’s borders and those of the company's key air travel markets within the region as a positive development.
"The ongoing commercial reset initiative at various airports in Malaysia will provide a fresh retail experience as well as new offerings for passengers, and is expected to improve rental yields for the group moving forward.
"Similarly, the group expects to see additional revenue from new land developments at KLIA Aeropolis and Subang Airport which will complement the recovery of aeronautical revenue and sustainability of the cost containment initiatives," MAHB said.
At 5pm on Monday (Feb 28), MAHB's share price closed one sen or 0.16% higher at RM6.15 for a market value of about RM10.21 billion.
MAHB has 1.66 billion issued shares, according to its latest quarterly financial report.