Syd Airport flags softer passenger growth
Sydney Airport shares have gained altitude after it dodged a stand-off over worker pay, despite flagging subdued growth in passenger numbers for the rest of the year.
The operator of Australia's biggest airport, Kingsford Smith, sidestepped worker concerns over pay rates at Friday's annual general meeting, saying it was not responsible for wages paid to workers by third-party companies.
The Transport Workers' Union had expressed concerns in the lead up to Friday's meeting of shareholders that wages and safety conditions were not good enough when set beside the airport's climbing revenue.
Sydney Airport chairman Trevor Gerber assured TWU representatives safety remained a top priority and offered to meet with members every day if necessary to discuss workplace concerns.
"(But) when it comes to wages I have to say that I am a bit reluctant to say we would have some influence ... on a third party," Mr Gerber said.
"We will meet with you provided the subject topic is the safety and security of people at the airport, which we have responsibility for, but pay we don't."
Sydney Airport welcomed a record 44.4 million passengers in 2018 and grew its aero, retail and property revenue each by more than seven per cent as part of a 6.8 per cent lift in total revenue to $1.58 billion.
But it said passenger growth had softened during the first four months of 2019, and was likely to continue through the year
Chief executive Geoff Culbert said the recent trend followed several years of growth that had raised expectations.
"The base number gets higher every year, and the bar gets raised every year," Mr Culbert said.
"But we still remain confident about the growth profile of the aero business in the medium and longer term, particularly given the world of possibilities that remain."
Shares in the company lifted by 10.5 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $7.615 by 1335 AEST.
Meanwhile, advertising revenue is tipped to lift when the airport assumes control of the Qantas terminal in July, with management also eyeing improvements the terminal's retail, food and beverage offering in the vein of the Jetstar and Tiger terminal makeover.
Mr Culber said the airport was well advanced on plans for a new 450 room premium hotel on the domestic side, which should open in 2021, and flagged additional hotels on the International side over time.
The airport's share price has lifted 13.3 per cent so far in 2019 after a decline in December, and is 7.4 per cent higher than $7.09 a year ago.
It has maintained its 2019 distribution guidance of 39 cents per share.
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