26 April 2013

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is expected to announce a new date for the opening of klia2, the new low-cost carrier terminal, today, said RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd.

RHB Research and a few other research houses believe that klia2 may not be able to start operations by the June 28 target.

RHB Research said the completion of the new airport will be delayed, while CIMB Research said MAHB needs to run tests and checks before the commissioning of the airport.

However, MAHB maintains that the new RM4 billion LCCT will be completed on time and within specifications.

The airport operator is now in discussions with the contractors on the progress and quality of klia2, a person who has direct knowledge on the matter told Business Times recently.

Speaking on condition of anonimity, he said: "It is important to know that they (MAHB) do not rush the job because safety and quality of an airport has always been a priority for them all this while. More importantly, they have to make sure that potential major setbacks are taken care of before klia2 start operations," he added.

Earlier, MAHB chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, after a shareholders meeting, said that the construction works on klia2 was 82 per cent completed and was on track to begin operations on June 28.

He added that there will be no cost overruns from the budgeted RM4 billion.

However, RHB Research questioned the duration of the delay and if there will be cost overruns.

"Compared against a scenario with the klia2 being operational on the first day of the financial year 2013, the delay would reduce our revenue forecast by four per cent in financial year 2013 and 2014 due to lower rental and passenger spend," it said.

CIMB Research, meanwhile, estimated that any delay would result in higher construction cost of around RM4.5 billion for the airport and lower commercial earnings for the airport operator.

"Even if the physical structure of the terminal is close to completion, there are still many operational issues and safety requirements to comply with prior to the opening of klia2," it said.

RHB Research has maintained its "buy" call on MAHB with a fair value of RM7.23.

The firm expects MAHB's earnings for the first quarter of its year ending December 31 2013 to be within expectations with a net profit of RM95 million on RM730 million revenue.

The airport operator's bottomline could be lower due to the higher user fee incurred, but its revenue is projected to rise on the back of higher passenger volume, which is up eight per cent year-on-year, and passenger spending.

Yesterday, its share price rose four sen to RM5.89.

Source: btimes.com.my