16 May 2012

Infratil to sell European airports

1:59 pm on 16 May 2012

Infratil's boss says he is confident about growth in coming years, as the company benefits from returns on major capital investments, but its European airports will be sold.

The listed infrastructure investor, whose New Zealand assets include Wellington Airport, Trust Power and Z Energy, reported a profit of $127 million in the year to the end of March, up 6% on the previous year, and well ahead of earlier forecasts.

Earnings rose almost 11% to $520 million, with TrustPower contributing more than half of that, while earnings also improved within its NZ Bus and Australian Energy businesses.

Infratil chief executive Marko Bogoievski says international markets remain concerning, but the company's businesses are now well positioned for growth.

However, after years of under-performing and dwindling passenger numbers, Infratil has decided to put Glasgow, Prestwick and Kent airports on the market.

Mr Bogoievski says the sale process could take a while due to the difficult economic conditions in Europe and because the assets are suited to a specialist investment owner.

He says while the European airports have not been making the required returns, Infratil is not giving up on airports entirely.

Infratil expects full-year earnings to be between $530 million and $560 for the 2013 financial year.

Shares in the company have gained 7% so far this year.