Flughafen Zürich AG: Financial Year 2022
Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR
The welcome rebound in traffic volumes and increased footfall in our commercial centers had a positive impact on revenue, seeing it pass one billion Swiss francs for the reporting year. After two years of losses, Flughafen Zürich AG was able to return a profit for the 2022 financial year and will now issue a dividend again following a three-year break. Consolidated profit benefited from a number of one-off effects and amounted to CHF 207.0 million.
Following the 10% reduction in flight operations charges (with the exception of emissions and noise charges) between April and December 2021, charges were restored to their original levels at the beginning of 2022. Along with significantly higher passenger volumes at Zurich Airport, income from flight operations charges was lifted by CHF 227.2 million to CHF 432.5 million.
Aviation fees and other aviation revenue amounted to CHF 58.6 million, an increase of CHF 23.3 million.
In total, aviation revenue more than doubled from CHF 240.6 million to CHF 491.1 million, equivalent to 74% of 2019 levels.
Non-aviation revenue increased by 21% to CHF 532.4 million, roughly 97% of the figure for 2019.
Total commercial and parking revenue rose by 20% year on year to CHF 239.9 million. While parking benefited from increased footfall, the increase in commercial revenue was less pronounced, owing to the rent concessions granted in accordance with IFRS 16 during the pandemic.
Real estate revenue continued to climb, rising by 10% to CHF 168.3 million. As well as inflation adjustments, this rise is principally attributable to additional rental income from the Circle and higher energy and utility cost allocations.
Primarily as a result of higher passenger volumes, revenue from services jumped by 37% to CHF 43.5 million.
The increase in revenue from international business to CHF 80.6 million is due to the more rapid recovery at foreign airport holdings along with slightly higher revenue from construction projects (concession accounting). Factoring out the income statement-neutral revenue from construction projects, revenue from international business climbed by 43%.
Ongoing rigorous cost discipline measures counteracted inflation-related cost increases and rising energy prices.
Total operating expenses increased 23% year on year to CHF 467.9 million. The cost basis (excluding expenses for construction projects) was still 7% lower overall than in 2019.
As in particular the option of short-time working compensation was discontinued at the end of February 2022, personnel expenses rose by CHF 25.6 million compared with the prior-year period to CHF 196.9 million (+15%).
Costs for police and security rose by CHF 20.7 million year on year to CHF 105.3 million (+24%) due to higher passenger volumes. In comparison with the previous year, it should be noted that various operational adjustments such as the temporary closure of infrastructure, for example, were reversed again.
Energy and waste costs showed a significant rise of CHF 11.9 million (+54%) to CHF 34.2 million, reflecting factors such as higher raw material prices for heat generation. It was, however, possible to pass on around half the price increases to tenants (as shown in higher revenue from energy and utility cost allocation).
Operating and consolidated result
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by CHF 256.3 million year on year to CHF 555.6 million (+86%). Compared with 2019, EBITDA stood at 87%.
Owing in particular to additional depreciation for the Circle, at CHF 295.3 million, depreciation and amortisation were up slightly on the prior-year figure of CHF 280.2 million. This increase also includes an impairment loss of CHF 4.3 million for Iquique Airport in Chile. This was principally due to delays in the commissioning of the new terminal as a result of the building contractor responsible going into liquidation in 2022.
The net finance result in the reporting year was also impacted by two one-off effects. Gains were made from the partial buy-back of debentures (CHF 8.4 million) and the advance payment of future fixed concession payments in Brazil (CHF 8.0 million). The adjustment to fair value of the financial assets of the Airport Zurich Noise Fund (AZNF) additionally had a negative effect (CHF 11.8 million).
In total, the net finance result fell from CHF –29.1 million in the previous year to CHF –20.0 million. Restructuring of the Zurich Airport International AG subsidiary further contributed a beneficial one-off effect of CHF 14.2 million.
The consolidated result for the past year increased markedly to a profit of CHF 207.0 million (2021: loss of CHF 10.1 million). Factoring out the above-mentioned one-off effects (Iquique impairment, gain from debenture buy-back and advance payment of fixed concession payments, tax effect from restructuring), the adjusted consolidated result amounted to CHF 183.0 million.
In the reporting year, Flughafen Zürich AG's investment in property, plant and equipment, projects in progress and airport operator projects totalled CHF 235.3 million (2021: CHF 206.3 million), of which CHF 208.3 million (2021: CHF 169.5 million) was invested at its Zurich site.
The single biggest project at the Zurich site was the refurbishment and development of the baggage sorting system. Other major projects included the renovation of runway 28/10, prorated investments in the completion of the Circle and the development of landside passenger areas.
Assets and financial position
The company's liquidity also benefited from the continuing recovery. As at the 2022 year-end, cash and cash equivalents (excluding noise-related funds) amounted to CHF 653.0 million, with the Zurich site accounting for approximately CHF 600 million of this.
Among other things, this high level of liquidity will be used to repay the debenture for CHF 400 million due in April 2023 and to resume a dividend payout.
Starting from cash flow from operating activities of CHF 488.6 million and investments in property, plant and equipment, projects in progress and airport operator projects totalling CHF 235.3 million, free cash flow for the reporting year came to CHF 253.3 million (2021: CHF 25.4 million).
Sustainability firmly enshrined in corporate strategy
The path to sustainable aviation is via a reduction in CO2 emissions. Flughafen Zürich AG is endeavouring to reduce its energy demand and fossil fuel consumption as much as possible at all sites in order to lower associated greenhouse gas emissions. In the reporting period, the previous target of reaching net zero by 2050 was amended. The aim is now to reduce the company’s own greenhouse gas emissions at all sites to net zero by 2040, without offsetting. To achieve this, the company is addressing its energy requirements, on the one hand, which will be gradually reduced by renovating buildings and constructing energy-efficient new buildings. On the other hand, fossil fuels will be replaced with renewable ones.
The recovery in international travel is expected to continue this year. Passenger numbers at the Zurich site are expected to rise to around 26 million in 2023.
Aviation revenue will mirror traffic volumes. Positive growth in non-aviation revenue is also expected. Rising passenger numbers at Zurich Airport will lead to slightly higher commercial revenues. In addition, a further increase in revenue from rental agreements and from international business activities is anticipated.
An inflation-related increase in operating expenses is likely in the 2023 financial year, especially for personnel and security-related costs. Significantly higher energy costs are likewise to be expected again.
Overall, Flughafen Zürich AG expects to make a higher profit than in the financial year just ended.
Investment at the Zurich site will amount to approximately CHF 250 million in 2023. Investment at subsidiaries abroad is likely to be around the CHF 300 million mark, with construction of the new airport in Noida set to pick up pace in particular.
Changes on the Management Board and the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors has appointed the current CFO, Lukas Brosi, as the new CEO of Flughafen Zürich AG. He will take over from Stephan Widrig who, as announced, will leave the company at the end of April after 23 years. 44-year-old Lukas Brosi has worked at Flughafen Zürich AG since 2009, since 2017 as CFO and a member of the Management Board.
At the Annual General Meeting the Board of Directors will propose Josef Felder as Chairman of the Board of Directors, to take over from Andreas Schmid who has been Chairman for the last 23 years and will be stepping down from the Board of Directors. Josef Felder was CEO of Flughafen Zürich AG from 2000 to 2008, has served on the Board of Directors since 2017, and has also exercised supervisory roles on other prestigious boards for over 15 years. In addition, the Board of Directors will propose Claudia Pletscher as a new member of the Board of Directors to the Annual General Meeting. Claudia Pletscher (48) is an entrepreneur and CEO of fineminds GmbH and a member of various boards of directors and advisory boards. With her expertise in digitalisation, innovation and transformation, Claudia Pletscher will be an ideal addition to the Board of Directors of Flughafen Zürich AG.
Likewise, a change is pending in the representative of the Canton of Zurich on the company's Board of Directors. At the end of April 2023, Beatrix Frey-Eigenmann will replace Eveline Saupper as a member of the Board of Directors of Flughafen Zürich AG.
Following the return to profit, the Board of Directors has agreed to retain the previous payout ratio of around 40% of net profit after adjustment for one-off effects, and to pay an additional dividend from capital contribution reserves along with the ordinary dividend. The capital contribution reserves are to be distributed in full over three years. This is predicated on the sustained recovery of international travel over the next few years and business developing in line with current expectations.
The Board of Directors is proposing to the Annual General Meeting the payment of an ordinary dividend of CHF 2.40 per share as well as an additional dividend of CHF 1.10 per share.
The 2022 Annual Report of Flughafen Zürich AG is available under https://report.flughafen-zuerich.ch/2022/ar/en/.