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Markets News

UPDATE 1-NZ's Auckland Airport nixes dividend, profit slumps on virus hit

(Adds details on results, forecast, background)

Aug 20 (Reuters) - Auckland International Airport Ltd on Thursday scrapped its final dividend and posted a steep fall in full-year profit, as coronavirus-related restrictions led to fewer flights.

The pandemic has battered the airline and tourism industries, as stringent border controls and restriction on people’s movement to curb the spread of the virus upend demand, which has triggered a downturn for airport operators.

Earlier this year, Auckland Airport scrapped its interim dividend, slashed capacity and jobs and raised cash to tide itself over the pandemic.

“As we look to the 2021 financial year, we continue to face significant uncertainty on the timing of Auckland Airport’s recovery,” Chief Executive Adrian Littlewood said in a statement.

New Zealand’s biggest airport operator also chose not to provide earnings forecast for 2021, citing uncertainty around recovery in international passenger numbers and ongoing curbs on people’s movement.

Underlying profit after tax for the year ended June 30 fell 31.4% to NZ$188.5 million ($123.54 million) from NZ$274.7 million last year, but beat estimates of NZ$167.8 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Auckland Airport said it would reassess its decision on its 2021 forecast at its annual meeting in October and with its interim results in February 2021. ($1 = 1.5258 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Yajush Gupta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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