CPH: Reasonable growth in H1

Copenhagen Airports A/S (CPH) had a good first half year of 2015 with revenue growth at 2.5%, primarily driven by growth in the non-aeronautical business, which meant that profit before tax grew by 4.4% to DKK 619.3 million. The non-aeronautical business generated strong growth, partly driven by a stronger offering at the shopping centre. CPH retains its guidance for the full year. 

The passenger number at Copenhagen Airport for the first six months of 2015 was 12,345,829, which was on a level with the first six months of 2014. Traffic growth in H1 deviated from normal as the number of locally departing passengers showed a high growth of 4.0%, while transfer passengers were down by 12.2%. However, the decline slowed significantly during the course of Q2. SAS accounts for the vast majority of transfer passengers at Copenhagen Airport, and a significant drop in volume was seen as a result of the airline's price optimisation. Overall long-haul traffic was up by 0.9%, while domestic traffic was down by 6.0% due to reduced capacity on the domestic routes. The total number of passengers decreased by 0.1% in the first six months of 2015.

In the second quarter of the year, domestic and Schengen traffic was merged, and passenger numbers have increased on several domestic routes since the change. Passenger surveys have shown general satisfaction with the change among domestic passengers.

Performance in the first six months was reasonable with good revenue growth. The increase in locally departing passengers was partly due to Ryanair's entry on the market. Despite the airline's closure of its base at Copenhagen, we expect the number of Ryanair passengers to remain largely the same, assuming the number of routes remains unchanged," said Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Copenhagen Airports A/S.

Increase in the non-aeronautical business
Revenue at the shopping centre was up by 6.9%, and the spend per passenger was higher than in the same period of last year, driven by a continued improvement of the shop and brand mix, not least in the food & beverage field which included the opening of Aamanns, Gorm’s and YO! Sushi.

Parking revenue was up by 3.0% driven by the increase in the number of locally departing passengers, and revenue from the hotel business increased by 4.4% as a result of a continuing high occupancy rate at the Hilton Hotel Copenhagen Airport.

2015 started out with a high investment level
The level of capital expenditure in H1 was above the level for the same period last year. Total capital expenditure of DKK 450.5 million was spent on expanding and renovating the passenger areas of Terminal 2, adding an additional 700 square metres for the benefit of passengers; two lanes have been added at the central security checkpoint in order to better serve the growing number of passengers; Pier C and one of the runways are being expanded to accommodate the growing number of long-haul flights, including the Airbus A380; and the special critical security restricted area (CSRA) is being expanded to improve efficiency for airlines and their employees.

The expansion of the CSRA primarily benefits the airlines and handling companies, as the employees will need fewer time-consuming security checks, which will increase efficiency and thereby reduce costs.

Efficiency improvements despite stricter security requirements
Despite the focus on efficiency improvements, CPH's staff costs increased in the first six months of the year, which was significantly affected by stricter requirements to security, including the ongoing implementation of the new EU rules on ETD (Explosive Trace Detection). However, CPH continues to focus on efficiency and to reduce external costs.

As a USD 100 million loan of CPH's US Private Placement (USPP) from 2003 matures in August 2015, the Company decided to take advantage of the positive loan market by raising similar financing in the United States on better terms. 

The amount issued was set at DKK 1,055 million with a term of ten years. The new loan amounts to approximately DKK 395 million higher than the loan that matured as CPH found it prudent to take advantage of the strong market conditions to cover its future refinancing requirements. It was the first time CPH was able to borrow directly in Danish kroner on the USPP market.

The issue was significantly oversubscribed, affirming CPH's position as an internationally recognised and reliable infrastructure asset. The agreements ensure CPH stable, long-term financing on satisfactory terms.

Advisory services in Istanbul
Over the next five years, Copenhagen Airport International (CAI), CPH's international consulting business, and Seoul's Incheon Airport will be providing advisory services to the company IGA (Istanbul Grand Airport) in Turkey, which is responsible for building and operating a new major airport in Istanbul with capacity for handling up to 120 million passengers annually.

The consulting services will include strategic development, establishment of the company's organisation and, not least, operation of the airport, both during the construction phase and during the first three years of operation after the opening of the airport in 2017.

International recognition
The world's leading academic company within aviation, the independent Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) identifies the most efficient airports in the world. ATRS assesses productivity, costs, quality and efficiency at more than 200 airports worldwide, and for the tenth time in 12 years, Copenhagen Airport was rated "Europe's most efficient airport".

The outlook for traffic growth, profit before tax and capital expenditure is unchanged from the announcement of 8 May 2015.

Based on the expected traffic programme for 2015, an increase in the total number of passengers is expected. However, unexpected fluctuations in the offering of routes may affect developments and profit.

The growth in the number of passengers and the changed structure of charges as from 1 April 2015 are expected to have a positive impact on revenue.

Operating costs are expected to be higher than in 2014, primarily due to the expected rise in passenger numbers, stricter requirements to security, and wage inflation, but this will be partly offset by a continuing focus on operating cost efficiencies.

Overall, depreciation charges and financial costs are expected to be at a slightly lower level than in 2014, primarily as a result of long-term financing raised on satisfactory market terms and the timing of depreciation on new investments.

Profit before tax for 2015 is expected to be in the range of DKK 1,300.0 million to DKK 1,400.0 million, excluding one-off items. Operating profit before depreciation is projected to be higher in 2015 than in 2014, excluding one-off items.

Forecast of capital investment
CPH expects to continue to invest for growth. As in recent years, CPH still expects to invest at a high level in 2015. Planned investments include expansion of the critical security restricted area (CSRA) at the airport and the merger of the terminal areas, which is part of the charges agreement that came into force on 1 April 2015. CPH will also be investing in non-aeronautical projects for the benefit of both airlines and passengers.