12 March 2018 – Cinco Días
The major privatisation of recent times – albeit partial, given that the State still owns a 51% stake – has been an undisputed success. The Spanish airport manager Aena made its debut on the Spanish stock market on 11 February 2015 at €58 per share with a market capitalisation of €5.8 billion. Since then, its share price has soared by almost 200% and the firm is now worth more than €25 billion (around €170 per share).
In Spain, the group manages 46 airports and 2 heliports; it also participates in the management of 12 airports in Mexico, two in Colombia and one in Jamaica, and it controls 51% of London’s Luton airport. It is the number 1 airport manager in the world handling more than 265 million passengers in 2017.
But Aena considers that there are opportunities that it must take advantage of and to this end, it is analysing the creation of a new company to undertake its mergers and acquisitions. Aena would control the new company, but it would not be the majority shareholder. That has been revealed by UBS in a report following meetings with the directors of Aena.
An analyst from the Swiss bank Cristian Nedelcu said that “the new company will probably be consolidated in the capital”. “We consider this as something positive, given that it limits the cash flow and commitments from Aena [allocated to those purposes]”, he added.
UBS revealed another one of Aena’s plans for the medium term. The constitution of a “similar company to manage the real estate business, with the incorporation of specialist managers”, which would also limit the resources that the company chaired by Jaime García Legaz (pictured above) would have to allocate to the segment.
Both initiatives open the door to an increase in Aena’s dividend. UBS considers that with the real estate company and the subsidiary to undertake corporate operations, the company would have scope to increase the percentage of profit that it allocates to remunerating shareholders (also known as the ‘payout’).
Whilst €1 billion in free cash flow is equivalent to €6.5 per share, which is what it will pay out of the profits for 2017, it remains to be seen what the company will do with the €1.6 billion that UBS expects it to make in 2021. “The decisions will be known in the coming months”, said the financial institution.
Aena is planning to market 2.7 million m2 of land in Madrid and 1.8 million m2 of land in Barcelona, as revealed at the presentation of its results on 28 February. In Madrid, of the 921 hectares analysed, 526 hectares are developable and 369 are marketable, whilst in Barcelona, of the 328 hectares analysed, 226 are developable and 180 are marketable.
The company recorded revenues from the real estate arm of €61.1 million last year, which represented 1.2% of its total turnover of €4.0 billion. The aeronautical business accounted for 61.5%; the commercial business, 34.7%; and the international business, the remaining 2.6%.
The group earned €1.2 billion last year, 5.8% more than in 2016, with an EBITDA of €2.5 billion, up by 9.8%, and a margin of 62.5%, compared with 60.8% in 2016, “due to the maintenance of the efficiency achieved despite the operational tension resulting from the increase in traffic”, explained the firm.
Original story: Cinco Días (by Pablo M. Simón)
Translation: Carmel Drake