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Malaysia Reopening A Turning Point For Earnings Recovery And Improved Outlook

SEPANG – The Malaysia Airports Group (the Group) saw significant improvement in the Group’s Earnings Before Interest Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) and revenue for the half year ended 30 June 2022 (1H22) in line with the significant increase in passenger movements in both its Malaysia and Turkey operations. The Group’s (EBITDA) for 1H22 was RM471.7 million on the back of 90.9% higher revenues of RM1.26 billion compared to the same period last year (1H21). EBITDA for the Group’s Malaysia operations stood at RM26.1 million while EBITDA for its Qatar operations stood at RM5.7 million. The EBITDA for the Group’s Turkey operations, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG), stood at RM439.9 million, or 97.6% higher compared to 1H21.

The reopening of the Malaysia’s borders saw the country’s passenger traffic movements surging to 20.3 million for 1H22, a 6.8 times increase over 1H21. In the month of June 2022, international passenger numbers have returned to 29.6% of June 2019 levels, while international load factors in June 2022 stood at 72.9%. This encouraging trend comes after only 3 months of relaxation in travel restrictions for Malaysia. It provides optimism that international traffic is gaining momentum, thus, signalling a turning point for earnings recovery. 

The Group’s Turkey operations in ISG registered 13.8 million total passenger movements in 1H22, equivalent to 81.6% of passenger movements during the corresponding pre-pandemic period in 2019. ISG’s international passenger movements were 5.1% higher than pre-pandemic levels, with higher aeronautical yields accelerating profitability. ISG was also ranked the 8th busiest airport in Europe in 1H22. 

In total, the Group registered 34.1 million passengers movements in 1H22, a three-fold increase over 1H21, which is also a 50.0% recovery of pre-COVID passenger volumes. As a result of higher passenger movements, coupled with its continuous cost efficiency initiatives, the net loss for the Group in 1H22 narrowed by 63.6% to RM162.9 million from RM447.4 million in 1H21. 

At the same time, Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) has announced its change in outlook on Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad from negative to stable whilst at the same time reaffirming its A3 rating. According to Moody's, "The outlook change and rating affirmation reflect our expectation that the airport's funds from operations (FFO) to debt will strengthen to above the A3 rating tolerance level of 7%-8% within the next 12-18 months, on the back of the projected recovery in passenger traffic under our base-case scenario." 

Commenting on the matter, Dato' Iskandar says, "This is a  positive development for the Group. The efforts taken to strive for operational excellence and efficiency coupled with a prudent financial management is starting to bear fruit after a very challenging two years".

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