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AOT profits plunge 90 per cent

By Post Reporters

Airports of Thailand Plc claimed higher costs of operation, repair and maintenance at the troubled Suvarnabhumi Airport diminished the increase in revenues spurred by higher traffic volumes and a rise in passenger service charges and aircraft landing and parking fees.

AoT, which came under military control in the previous quarter, said net profits for its second quarter to March 31 fell by nearly 90% year-on-year due to a jump operating costs and smaller foreign-exchange gains.

AoT, which operates the country's six major airports, posted a net profit 449 million baht, or a 31 satang a share, its worst quarterly earnings since it was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Second-quarter revenues in fact grew 14% to 4.89 billion baht but operating expenses surged 137% to 4.07 billion baht, AoT said in a statement.

The company said that it had a foreign-exchange gain of 417 million baht in the quarter compared to 1.84 billion baht gain a year earlier.

The baht, which appreciated by 12% against the US dollar last year, remains at nine-year highs against the greenback and was quoted at 34.55 yesterday.

The second-quarter net profit was substantially lower than the average forecast of 1.4 billion baht expected by analysts.

Analysts expected AOT's profits for the current fiscal year ending Sept 30 to fall to 2.9 billion baht, compared with 10.4 billion baht a year earlier, due to higher maintenance costs at Suvarnabhumi and losses from reopening of Don Muang airport.

AOT shares closed yesterday on the SET at 57.50 baht, up one baht, in trade worth 76.06 million baht.

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