Zurich Airport Ltd.: Half Year 2023
Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR
The rebound in traffic volumes at Zurich Airport continued apace in the first half of 2023 and also shows through clearly in Zurich Airport Ltd.’s key financial figures. While revenue rose by 26% year on year to CHF 576.7 million, operating expenses increased at a slower pace. The bottom line showed a consolidated profit of CHF 138.1 million for the past six-month period.
Flight operations charges increased by around 36% to CHF 245.5 million thanks to higher traffic volumes. Aviation fees and other aviation revenue amounted to CHF 33.1 million in total, a rise of 28%.
Total aviation revenue rose by CHF 72.7 million (+35%) to CHF 278.6 million, equivalent to 88% of the aviation revenue posted for the first half of 2019.
Non-aviation revenue climbed by 18% to CHF 298.1 million, an increase of almost 10% on the first half of 2019.
Total commercial and parking revenue increased by 14% year on year to CHF 127.0 million thanks in particular to higher passenger numbers.
Real estate revenue remained on an upward trajectory, rising by 18% to CHF 97.6 million. This rise is attributable primarily to additional rental income in connection with the reorganisation of the south site (hangar buildings), which was acquired from Priora Suisse AG at the end of 2019, as well as to higher energy and utility cost allocations.
Revenue from services rose by 11% to CHF 22.0 million.
The increase in revenue from international business to CHF 51.5 million is due to the sustained strong recovery at foreign airport holdings and higher revenue from construction projects (concession accounting). Factoring out the income statement-neutral revenue from construction projects, revenue from international business climbed by 31%.
Rising at a slower pace than revenue, operating expenses increased by 15% year on year to CHF 252.9 million. After adjustment for expenses for construction projects (concession accounting), operating expenses were 1% higher than in the first half of 2019.
Personnel expenses increased by CHF 8.8 million compared with the prior-year period to CHF 103.2 million (+9%). In addition, costs for police and security rose by CHF 6.0 million year on year (+12%) due to higher passenger volumes.
Energy and waste costs showed a rise of CHF 6.6 million (+38%) to CHF 23.8 million, mainly reflecting higher electricity prices.
Operating and consolidated result
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by CHF 85.6 million year on year to CHF 323.8 million (+36%). Compared with the first half of 2019, EBITDA was up by 7%.
Depreciation and amortisation were almost unchanged compared with the prior-year period at CHF 142.6 million.
The net finance result improved from CHF –26.9 million to CHF –8.6 million. At the Zurich site, the redemption of a CHF 400 million debenture in April 2023 reduced interest payments and the end of the period of negative interest rates means that it is now possible again to generate positive interest income. Lower inflation figures in Brazil compared with the first half of the previous year likewise had a positive impact on the interest payments made by the local subsidiary. In addition, fair value changes at the Airport Zurich Noise Fund generated income in the first half of 2023 after resulting in expenses in the prior-year period.
Consequently, the consolidated result for the past six-month period increased markedly to a profit of CHF 138.1 million (previous year: CHF 55.4 million).
In the reporting period, Zurich Airport Ltd.’s investment in property, plant and equipment, projects in progress and airport operator projects totalled CHF 162.9 million (previous year: CHF 105.6 million), of which CHF 84.2 million (previous year: CHF 92.4 million) was invested at the Zurich site.
The single biggest project at the Zurich site was the refurbishment and expansion of the baggage sorting system. Other major projects included the development of the landside passenger zones, the work in preparation for the development of the main airport complex (new Dock A, tower and dock base, etc.) and the extension of the Zone West apron.
Assets and financial position
The high liquidity held at the end of 2022 was used, among other things, to fully repay the maturing CHF 400 million debenture in April 2023 without refinancing and to resume dividend payments. The next debenture – for CHF 300 million – will mature in May 2024.
As at mid-2023, cash and cash equivalents and fixed-term deposits (excluding noise-related funds) amounted to CHF 337.8 million, with the Zurich site accounting for roughly CHF 300 million.
Starting from cash flow from operating activities of CHF 316.3 million and investments in property, plant and equipment, projects in progress and airport operator projects totalling CHF 162.9 million, free cash flow for the reporting period came to CHF 153.4 million (previous year: CHF 129.0 million).
This current year has turned out better than initially expected, and international travel continues to recover. Passenger numbers at the Zurich site are expected to rise to around 28 million in 2023.
Aviation revenue will mirror traffic volumes. Non-aviation revenue is also expected to be on a positive trend. Rising passenger numbers at the Zurich site will lead to higher commercial and parking revenue. A further increase in revenue from rental agreements and from international business activities is also anticipated.
Operating expenses, in particular personnel and security-related expenses, are expected to be driven higher by inflation in financial year 2023. The growth in traffic volumes will also have the effect of pushing up expenses. Significantly higher energy costs are likewise to be expected again.
Overall, Zurich Airport Ltd. expects to post a much higher consolidated profit for full-year 2023 than in the past financial year.
Investment at the Zurich site will amount to approximately CHF 200 million in 2023. Investment at subsidiaries abroad is likely to be around the CHF 300 million mark, with the construction of the new airport in Noida in particular set to pick up pace.
The 2023 Interim Report of Zurich Airport Ltd. is available under https://report.flughafen-zuerich.ch/2023/hyr/en/.