Auckland Airport's land bank value soars to $2.6b

10:18 AM Wednesday August 27, 2014 Anne Gibson

Auckland International Airport owns 1500ha of freehold land, which includes the runway. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland International Airport's vast Mangere land bank rose in value by $734 million between June 2011 and June 2014.

The extensive Auckland waterfront greenfields site, mainly unbuilt, was valued at $1.9 billion but is now assessed as being worth $2.6 billion.

That is revealed in the notes to the accounts released with the annual result out yesterday which showed profit from the country's main gateway up 21.3 per cent to $215.9 million on a 6 per cent revenue increase to $475.8 million.

Simon Robertson, AIAL's chief financial officer, said the airport owned 1500ha of freehold land and the main driver for the valuation rise was an assessment of the land's worth compared to residential land values.

"The increase is over three years and a large part of that land holding we value in its alternative use -- if the airport wasn't there, it would be residential.

"It follows the basis for which the regulator, the Commerce Commission, asks us to value our land," he said.

Shane Solly of institutional investor Harbour Asset Management said the value lift also recorded significant expenditure. The company has built new commercial and logistical hubs off George Bolt Memorial Drive, attracting major new tenants.

Robertson said the 1500ha includes the runway "but there are other large parts of the land held for future aeronautical uses".

"The value increase represents the significant size of our land holdings and increase in value of land across Auckland over the last three years," Robertson said.

"As land values increase, it does impact rates in the future but not aeronautical charges. We pay just over $5 million a year in rates."

The company won't get its new increased rates bill until next year when Auckland Council's three-yearly revaluation is completed.

Last month Robertson signalled the huge real estate value lift.

"A component of the financial result will reflect the revaluation of land within property, plant and equipment.

"We expect the land values, as at June 30, 2014, to increase by between $725 million and $745 million, with the vast majority of the increase being recognised in the property, plant and equipment revaluation reserve within our shareholders' equity," Robertson said at the time.

Yesterday's new accounts showed AIAL's property, plant and equipment, valued at $3 billion last year, is now valued at $3.7 billion.

Income from retailing rose 2.2 per cent to $127 million and car park income rose 6.1 per cent to $42.8 million. Total rental income rose 7 per cent to $59.3 million.

The company forecast underlying profit for the 2015 year of $160 million to $170 million, suggesting it expects no earnings growth on that measure in the coming year.

But the company said its preferred measure was earnings per share, which would be between 2 per cent and 9 per cent up in the year, after the company returned $454 million of capital and cancelled 10 per cent of its stock.