Dr. Bender: Fraport Continues to Steer Success Course in 2005
Annual General Meeting with Record Figures for 2004 - Dividend Soars to 75
Euro Cents - Frankfurt Airport�'s Expansion is a National Priority
"2004 was a banner year in every respect," declared Fraport AG's executive board chairman Dr. Wilhelm Bender, at the beginning of his presentation at this year�'s Annual General Meeting in Frankfurt-Höchst. He also took the opportunity to thank the company�'s employees: "All Fraport employees worked hard and with great motivation during the past year to transform the strong revival in world air traffic into excellent financial results for us."
With impressive figures, Bender substantiated his statement that Fraport - the company owning and managing Frankfurt Airport (FRA) - is steering a successful course. The Fraport Group's revenues increased nearly 9 percent to 2 billion. Passenger figures at the six airports of the Fraport Group rose by 9.2 percent to about 77 million in 2004. Cargo tonnage handled at the Group's airports grew 11.7 percent to well over 2.2 million metric tons. With 136.4 million, Group profits exceeded the previous year's level by 18.4 percent.
At the end of 2004, some 26,209 people were employed in the Fraport Group, including 16,604 at Frankfurt Airport alone - the company's main location. The manpower increase of 1,717 people was mainly attributable to Fraport's ICTS Europe subsidiary, the leading provider of security services at airports in Europe. ICTS Europe operates successfully in the German market via its FIS GmbH subsidiary, based in Kelsterbach near FRA.
Bender also told shareholders that Fraport will continue to be serious in the future about "its social responsibilities as an employer." However, Bender explained that the company "is facing growing cost pressure that it must absorb with suitable measures."
Thus, the executive board inked the so-called "Pact for the Future 2010" with Fraport's works council last week. This pact primarily calls for greater working time flexibility to create more competitive structures. In return, Fraport's executive board promised that there will not be any operationally determined layoffs through 2010.
At the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt-Höchst, Fraport AG's executive board chairman announced that Fraport plans to sign a new long-term ground-handling contract with Deutsche Lufthansa, its key customer, before the end of June. Lufthansa - which has been united with Fraport in successful "system partnership" for decades - also is under enormous cost pressure. Therefore, price concessions in ground handling are inevitable.
Bender described the rise in Fraport stock prices as extremely encouraging. Stock prices were up by nearly 38 percent in 2004 and have been gaining another 5 percent in the current year so far. He expects the Fraport share price "to rise further." Fraport's executive board and supervisory board are recommending the AGM to raise the dividend payment from 44 euro cents in 2003 to 75 euro cents per share for fiscal 2004.
Regarding Frankfurt Airport�'s expansion, Bender emphasized that it was imperative now to ensure the service capability of Germany's busiest airport in the long term. It is hard to imagine Germany as a competitive business location without the adequate aviation infrastructure. Bender called FRA�'s demand-driven capacity expansion a "national priority."
According to Bender, Fraport anticipates passenger figures at Frankfurt Airport to rise about three percent in the current year. The Group profit for 2005 is expected to be clearly higher than in 2004. Reasons include the continuing under-proportionate increase in staff and non-staff costs due to stringent cost management. This was greatly helped by Fraport's existing efficiency enhancement program, which has resulted in total savings of 87 million since 2002.
Bender concluded the report of the executive board at this year's AGM by stating that Fraport continues to steer a successful course in 2005. The chairman described the balance sheet as extremely sound and the operational business as strongly profitable. "We are now focusing all of our energy on the scheduled expansion of Frankfurt Airport."