Malta International Airport plc - Full-Year Results
On 22 February 2022, Malta International Airport plc published its Annual Report & Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2021.
During 2021, revenues increased by 47.4% to €47.4 million reflecting the gradual recovery in tourism numbers following the slump in global air travel as a result of the pandemic. Despite the significant rebound, the amount of revenues generated by MIA during 2021 is still 52.7% lower than the record of just over €100 million achieved in 2019 as during the year the airport operator welcomed 2.54 passengers compared to 7.31 million in 2019. From an operating segment perspective, the ‘Airport’ segment generated €27.8 million in revenues (2019: €70.8 million) representing almost 59% of total revenues whilst the ‘Retail & Property’ segment contributed €19.5 million in revenues (2019: €29.1 million).
Despite the strong increase in revenues when compared to the 2020 financial year, operating costs eased by 4.3% to €34.6 million (2020: €36.2 million) as MIA implemented a number of additional cost-cutting measures which resulted in savings on marketing (-33.3%) and staff expenses (-21.7%), as well as maintenance and repairs (-9.5%). As a result, the airport operator recorded an operating profit of €12.8 million compared to the operating loss of just under €4 million accounted for in the previous financial year. Excluding depreciation and amortisation charges, EBITDA amounted to €24.1 million compared to the record of €63.2 million generated in 2019. The EBITDA margin also improved considerably to 50.8% in 2021 compared to 17.4% in 2020 although it is 12.2 percentage points lower than the margin of 63% achieved in 2019.
After accounting for net finance costs amounting to €1.99 million and tax charges of €4.14 million, MIA reported a net profit of just under €7 million compared to the loss of €4.25 million suffered in 2020 and the record profit of €33.9 million achieved in 2019.
The Statement of Financial Position shows that total assets increased by 3.3% to €242.7 million largely due to the rise in trade and other receivables to €15.9 million (compared to €6.97 million as at the end of 2020) while cash and cash equivalents increased by 5.4% to €32.7 million. On the other hand, total liabilities remained virtually unchanged at €110.9 million. As a result, shareholders’ funds grew by 5.6% to €131.8 million.
In view of the prevailing situation regarding the pandemic, the Directors of MIA decided that it is not prudent to recommend the payment of a dividend for the 2021 financial year.
Commenting on the results, the Directors of the company noted that 2021 was dominated by uncertainty and uneven recovery across Europe, with MIA recovering at an even slower pace than its Southern European counterparts. Nevertheless, the summer months highlighted the resilience of the travel industry as the demand for air travel started to gain momentum almost immediately after travel restrictions were eased and airlines started to operate more stable flight schedules.
Airlines have continued to plan for the short-term and to monitor demand. Factors such as vaccination roll-out, national travel policies and the standardisation of testing protocols will remain key components for recovery, whilst competition between destinations is expected to increase for the summer 2022 season. While a number of countries including the UK, France and Italy have announced that they will be easing their restrictions in February, Malta has not as yet announced the easing of national restrictions in relation to travel.
In the meantime, MIA and Malta Tourism Authority have remained in active discussions with partner airlines to work on rebuilding connectivity. A combination of flag and low-cost carriers are expected to operate several primary routes to Malta throughout 2022, in line with the company’s aim to strike a balanced business mix, with the possibility of increasing their schedules once demand allows. Whilst gaps in certain strategic markets remain, talks are currently ongoing with new and existing carriers regarding the potential launch of new services for the upcoming summer season.
‘Apron X’ Investment
In light of the company’s confidence on the industry’s ability to recover to pre-pandemic levels and its potential to grow further and achieve new records, MIA unveiled a €40 million new investment that will see the construction of a new apron – ‘Apron X’ – covering an area of approximately 100,000 sqm which will also be MIA’s largest investment in aerodrome infrastructure.
Besides equipping MIA with better aircraft parking capacity, Apron X will see the construction of a new taxiway which would improve accessibility to the new apron, and the development of a staging area, housing facilities for essential ground handling operations. These ancillary facilities will complement the main development in contributing to a smoother and more efficient operation on the ground.
Works on the project are expected to commence in the coming weeks once the Planning Authority grants the permit for this development. While MIA is eyeing the start of summer 2024 for the completion and utilisation of the first parking stands, the full project is expected to be concluded in 2026.