Flughafen Zürich AG: Financial Year 2021
Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR
Whilst the restrictions in place as a result of the pandemic resulted in another loss in the first half of 2021, the continuing recovery enabled a profit to be posted in the second half of the year. Over the financial year as a whole this resulted in a consolidated loss of CHF 10.1 million (prior-year loss: CHF 69.1 million).
Despite the agreed 10% temporary reduction in flight operations charges (with the exception of emissions and noise charges), aviation revenue came to CHF 240.6 million in the past financial year (+8.5% compared with the prior-year period) due to the slight increase in overall passenger numbers at Zurich Airport.
Flight operations charges increased by 7.8% to CHF 205.3 million. Total aviation fees and other aviation revenue amounted to CHF 35.4 million, a rise of 13.3%.
Compared with 2019, aviation revenue was down by almost two-thirds.
Non-aviation revenue increased by 9.2% to CHF 439.4 million, which is roughly 80% of the 2019 figure.
Total commercial and parking revenue rose by 17.3% year on year to CHF 199.1 million. In the past financial year, rent concessions were once again agreed with commercial partners severely impacted by the pandemic. These were capitalised in accordance with IFRS 16 and will be amortised over the remaining term of the respective contracts.
Revenue from facility management remained solid, rising by 8.7% to CHF 153.1 million. This rise is attributable primarily to additional rental income in connection with the Circle.
Income from services climbed by 12.7% to CHF 31.7 million. The decrease in revenue from international airport business to CHF 55.4 million is due to lower income from construction projects (concession accounting). Factoring out the reduced investment activity, revenue rose by 23.9%, underscoring the more rapid recovery at foreign airport holdings in particular.
Operating expenses decreased by a further 11.0% year on year to CHF 380.8 million. Adjusted for expenses for construction projects (concession accounting), expenses fell by 7.7%, or 23.7% compared with 2019.
Owing to a lower headcount and short-time working payments, personnel expenses were down by CHF 8.0 million year on year to CHF 171.3 million (–4.5%). The costs for police and security were reduced by CHF 9.4 million (-10.0%) despite slightly higher passenger volumes, which is attributable in particular to operational improvements. Whilst ongoing cost discipline also had a positive impact on administrative costs (–14.5%), energy and waste costs showed a rise of CHF 4.2 million. Among other things, this reflects higher raw materials prices for heat generation.
Operating result and consolidated loss
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by CHF 103.2 million to CHF 299.2 million (+52.7%).
Depreciation and amortisation were up on the prior-year figure of CHF 252.6 million to CHF 280.2 million due to the commissioning of the Circle.
The net finance result deteriorated by CHF 4.2 million year on year to stand at CHF –29.1 million. It was noticeably impacted in particular by the higher interest payments at the Brazilian subsidiaries attributable to increased levels of inflation. The share of the result of associates in the amount of CHF –3.7 million (2020: CHF –3.1 million) reflects the company’s share of the result of the Belo Horizonte airport operator.
Thanks to a profitable second half of the year, the consolidated loss for the financial year just ended narrowed to CHF 10.1 million (2020: CHF –69.1 million).
In the reporting period, Flughafen Zürich AG’s investment in property, plant and equipment, projects in progress and airport operator projects totalled CHF 206.3 million (2020: CHF 398.6 million), of which CHF 169.5 million (2020: CHF 367.6 million) was invested at its Zurich base.
The single biggest project at the Zurich site is the prorated investment in the completion of the Circle. Other major projects included the refurbishment and expansion of the baggage sorting system, work in preparation for the renovation of runway 28/10 and the expansion of landside passenger areas.
Starting from cash flow from operating activities of CHF 231.7 million and investments in property, plant and equipment, projects in progress and airport operator projects totalling CHF 206.3 million, free cash flow for the reporting period came to CHF 25.4 million (2020: CHF –251.3 million).
Thanks to the continuing recovery in the second half of the year, the company’s liquidity also showed an increase. As at the 2021 year-end, cash and cash equivalents (excluding noise-related funds) amounted to CHF 503 million, with the Zurich site accounting for more than CHF 400 million. The next debenture for CHF 400 million will mature in April 2023.
Flughafen Zürich AG also has committed credit lines totalling CHF 300 million, which were almost entirely unused at the reporting date.
The subsidiaries abroad have likewise taken measures to ensure liquidity.
New member of the Management Board
The Board of Directors has appointed Manuela Staub as a new member of the Management Board of Flughafen Zürich AG. As Chief People & Communications Officer she will be in charge of Human Resources, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs from 1 June 2022. Manuela Staub has been Head of Corporate Communications at Flughafen Zürich AG since February 2020. She previously worked at Swisscom for over 20 years in a number of functions in the fields of communication and organisational development. Manuela Staub is 48 and lives in the Canton of Zurich with her family.
The start of 2022 was characterised by the Omicron virus variant, and the outbreak of the war in Ukraine generated additional uncertainty. Whereas the impact of the war in Ukraine on the aviation industry is still unclear, we assume that the pandemic-related travel restrictions will be eased further. We assume that passenger numbers at the Zurich site will rise to around 20 million passengers this year, corresponding to roughly two-thirds of the 2019 level.
Aviation revenue will mirror traffic volumes. Non-aviation revenue is also expected to be on a positive trend, firstly due to additional revenue at the Circle and secondly thanks to international business activities, where growth momentum is expected to be stronger.
Whilst the company continues to focus on cost discipline, it anticipates a year-on-year rise in costs in 2022. Firstly, the short-time working that protected the company from extensive personnel adjustments during the crisis was discontinued at the end of February. Secondly, the expected growth in passenger numbers will result in higher security and infrastructure costs. Overall, however, operating expenses – excluding expenses from construction projects – can be kept well below the 2019 level.
Due to the continuing recovery, Flughafen Zürich AG expects to return to profit this year.
Investment at the Zurich site will amount to approximately CHF 250 million in 2022. This includes the company’s share of the final payment for the Circle. Investment at the subsidiaries abroad is likely to amount to around CHF 200 million, driven in particular by the start of construction work in Noida, India.
The 2021 Annual Report of Flughafen Zürich AG is available under https://report.flughafen-zuerich.ch/2021/ar/en/.