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Infratil takes $43.9m charge on British airports up for sale

Infrastructure investment firm Infratil has taken a $43.9 million charge to write down the value of the two British airports it is trying to sell ahead of its first-half results next week.

The Wellington-based firm wrote down the carrying value of the Glasgow Prestwick and Kent airports by £22.2 million, which will be reflected in the first-half net profit, the company says in a statement.

The investment firm is trying to sell the unprofitable airports and has already written down their value by $60.4 million in the past two financial years.

"The impairment charge reflects market feedback received as part of this [sale] process," it says. "Infratil continues to actively seek a buyer for the airports, while considering all other options available with respect to the ongoing operations."

The company is reportedly part of a consortium including its manager, Morrison & Co, and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund making a bid for Stansted airport, Britain's third-largest gateway.

The investment firm has flagged earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in fair value (ebitdaf) will be between $530 million and $560 million in the 2013 financial year, up from $520.2 million a year earlier.

Infratil shares were unchanged at $2.19 yesterday and have gained 16% this year. The stock is rated an average "outperform" based on six analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $2.30.

Separately, Wellington International Airport, which is controlled by Infratil, reported a narrower first-half loss of $5.6 million in the six months ended September 30, from $6.7 million a year earlier.

The airport lifted revenue 8.1% to $51.4 million, with a 13% hike in landing and terminal charges, more than doubling ebitdaf to $9.5 million.

Last week, the airport was found to be targeting excessive returns in a draft Commerce Commission report which were beyond what the regulator considered reasonable.

"Wellington Airport is reviewing the findings set out in the draft report as it does not appear to recognise the overall forecast returns which are in line with the commission's guidelines," the airport says.

It made a subvention payment to Infratil subsidiaries of almost $30 million in the period, down from $30.1 million a year earlier.


Comments and questions

Ironic, isn't it. When Infratil supported the hare brained Bob Harvey Memorial Airport idea at Whenuapai, it based its argument on Auckland Airport 'targetting excessive returns'. Something it is now supposedly guilty of.

infratil....pffft. most over rated company in NZ. Couldn't make a sound investment if their lives depended on it......

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