Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) aims to sell equity stakes and leases worth around R7 billion ($433.11 million) in airports and other properties to help it weather a slump in passenger volumes caused by the pandemic, its chief executive said.
State-controlled ACSA, one of the biggest airport operators in Africa, operates nine airports in South Africa, including in the top three metropolitan areas of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, and has been hit hard as the country’s air travel continues to be restricted to a few countries.
“We are looking at monetising half of our portfolio, … it is quite urgent from our perspective,” Mpumi Mpofu, chief executive of ACSA, told Reuters in an interview.
If successful, the strategy could raise in five years or sooner nearly half the level of the company’s current investments of R17 billion.
This would include selling shares in Mumbai and Sao Paulo airports, where it holds 10% stakes, and unlocking value in land and hotel investments in Johannesburg by bringing in new partners or offering long-term leases.
The company aims to sell its interest in Mumbai by the end of 2020 and close the deal to sell its share in Sao Paulo in six months, Mpofu said.
ACSA reported a 2.7% increase in revenue and an 8.9% fall in operating profit for the year ended March 2020, reflecting reduced air travel in the last three months of its financial year.
It is expecting a 60% fall in passenger volumes at its airports in 2020/21, which will impact its revenues and profits, the company said in a presentation earlier on Tuesday.
The company has also requested the government guarantee part of its loans, Mpofu said.