JOHANNESBURG - Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), which operates and runs nine South African airports yesterday (Monday), said its profits for the year to March had firmed 10.8% to R2 billion compared to R1.8 billion a year earlier.​

Acsa chief executive, Bongani Maseko, said on Monday that the results "were the best set of results ever", despite the country's sluggish economic outlook.

Revenue surged to R8.6 billion revenue from R8.3 billion last year, with aeronautical revenue contributed 63 percent to total revenue, including fees charged to airlines, and the company wanted to continue to grow the non-aeronautical revenue contribution. 

Non-aeronautical revenue is derived from sources such as retail space, advertising, office rental, parking and car hire. Debt, primarily in the form of bond issues, was R9 billion at  the end of March from R17 billion in 2012, the company said.  

Acsa in December announced a 35.5  percent tariff reduction in airport charges for the 2017/18 financial year. These charges were expected to then rise by 5.8 percent in the 2018/19 financial year and 7.4 percent in the 2019/20 financial year. “We are happy to report that we have certainty following the tariff reduction. In the next couple of years we are not going to have results as good as these, but they will  be good,” he said.

Acsa reported  20  million departing passengers for the year to March from 19.4 million last year from its nine airports. Domestic passenger growth was subdued at 2.2 percent while , international departures grew by 6.1 percent. “For the first time, Cape Town International Airport reported a total of more than 10 million arriving and departing passengers, with King Shaka International Airport reporting a total of more than five million passengers for the first time,” said Maseko.

Acsa also received an unqualified audit opinion for the year under review after  material findings on compliance previously kept it from achieving a clean audit opinion. Maseko said the company was addressing underlying issues that kept the company from a clean audit.

Acsa minority shareholders approached the court to buy out of the company. Maseko said yesterday company held an annual general meeting on Friday where it was decided to wait on the Transport Ministry. “We hope to resolve the issue speedily,” said Maseko.

The government owned a 74.6 percent stake in Acsa, and 20 percent is held by the Public Investment Corporation and the difference is held by a group of empowerment investors which own 4.21 percent  while  Acas’s staff share scheme have a 1.19 percent stake in the company. It was previously reported that African Harvest Strategic Investment (AHSI) and Up-Front Investments 65, with 1.8 percent of the total of 4.21 percent minority shares – claimed they bought the shares under an understanding from Acsa regarding a future listing.

- BUSINESS REPORT