Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Belfast International Airport Holdings Ltd.

Airport steers through the storm

By John Simpson

Belfast International Airport Holdings is the owner of Belfast International Airport and its report consolidates the performance of the group.

The turnover of the airport business is the same for both companies but, because certain costs are charged directly to the Holdings company, the registered operating and pre-tax profits of the Holdings company are lower than from those of its subsidiary.

In 2008-9, turnover at the airport fell as a consequence of the emerging and deepening recession which also affected the number of passengers.

During that period passenger numbers fell from 5.2m to 4.5m: a drop of 13%. Since 2009, turnover has fallen slightly but has been more stable. In 2010-11, annual turnover has remained at just over £30m.

Passenger numbers in 2010 and 2011 were just over 4.0m and 4.1m respectively.

Operating profits recovered in 2011 to reach £4.5m, in contrast to £3.3m reported for 2010. This is someway lower than the peak operating profit figures of the period 2007-9.

Pre-tax profits have moved in line with operating profits after a deduction, in 2011, of net interest payments of £1.7m on borrowed funds.

As a result of the changed perspective in the valuation of the assets of the airport, the accounts for recent years reflect an unrealised deficit in the valuation of the investment in the airport.

In 2008, an unrealised deficit of £27m was deducted from the value of the assets. In 2009, a further deficit of £28m was deducted. This was followed by a deduction of £18m in 2010 and a further deduction of under £2m in 2011.

The consequence of these adjustments to the valuation of the assets of the company was that the balance sheet value of the shareholders' funds fell from £117m in December 2007 to £47m four years later. In 2011, shareholders' funds have improved by 3% to reach £48.7m.

The Holdings company operates a defined benefit pension scheme for some employees.

The annual actuarial assessment points to a potential deficit on the scheme which has led to a deduction of £5.6m from the value of the shareholders' investment.