“The airport is ready for another phase of expansion with a new runaway and a new terminal to be constructed. However, we have decided to part ways with BIAL, as deleveraging is our top priority,” said Reddy.
The company’s immediate focus will be on Mumbai and Navi Mumbai airports and on selectively evaluating privatisation opportunities, Reddy said. The reduced debt burden gives GVK flexibility and releases management bandwidth to focus on these projects.
Capacity optimisation and real estate development will be the key focus areas of the existing Mumbai airport, said Reddy.
Fairfax India through a wholly owned subsidiary entered into a separate agreement to acquire additional five per cent equity from Zurich Airports’ interest in BIAL for $49 million.
Watsa said three potential sources of revenues for BIAL include aero revenue, non-aero revenue and real estate monetisation. Aero revenue has grown at 25 per cent per year over the last eight years.
Aero revenue is earned for providing services such as navigation, landing, take-off, parking, ground handling and ground safety. Rates for these individual services are fixed in a manner to get the airport operator a fixed 16 per cent per annum regulated return on invested equity.
All other sources of revenue, barring aero revenue, are accounted for as non-aero revenue. This includes income from activities such as cargo handling, fuel sales, food and beverage sales and duty free shops. BIAL takes an interest free deposit from all concessionaires and earns annual revenue on a minimum guarantee, revenue share or fixed rental basis.
Non-aero revenue has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 16 per cent between 2009 and 2016. It is expected to grow substantially due to an increase in passenger growth rates, the availability of additional space and increasing propensity of passengers to spend money.
BIAL also comes with 460 acres of excess land that can be monetised by the operator. So far, apart from building a hotel next to the airport and leasing it to Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces on a management contract, all other land is undeveloped.
Bangalore’s historical population areas are getting congested, hence, the city is expanding in BIAL’s direction. There will be a significant upside over the time from monetisation of this real estate, said Watsa.