Shares in MAHB rise as analysts positive post-GE14

KUCHING: Shares in Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) rose yesterday as analysts maintained their positive stance on the airport handler following the 14th General Election (GE14).

Yesterday, the stock was 10 sen better at RM8.60 with 3.74 million shares changing hands at closing.

MAHB, in a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, said its network of airports, including the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SGIA), recorded 11.1 million passengers in April 2018, up 3.4 per cent, over the same month last year.

The research arm of MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd (MIDF Research) maintained its positive stance on MAHB, given its optimism of the second quarter’s (2Q) overall traffic performance.

MIDF Research expected the growth of passengers’ traffic to remain in positive territory, driven by higher international passengers.

“Following the results of GE14 last week, our optimism on the tourism sector remains strong,” the research arm said.

“Despite the surprised change in Government in Malaysia, we are comforted that the transition has been smooth throughout.

“This should be a positive signal for a stable economic and political environment moving forward, leaving the tourism sector to benefit.”

In the latest passenger traffic snapshot, MAHB revealed that on the local front, airports in Malaysia registered 8.2 million passengers in April 2018, a 0.6 per cent year on year (y-o-y) growth over April 2017.

“It should be noted that the 17.1 per cent growth for April 2017 was the highest growth recorded for a month in 2017,” the group said.

Despite the vast contrast to the previous year, MIDF Research believed the April 2018 traffic will partly support 2Q of financial year 2018’s (2QFY18) growth, as the research arm expected the subsequent months to see more robust traffic passenger traffic.

Looking ahead, the research arm of Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd (Kenanga Research) also expected higher domestic passenger traffic for Malaysia to be backed by the recent general elections which will be reflected in May traffic numbers and the increased domestic routes by AirAsia on the back of an expanded fleet of planes.

MAHB highlighted that for April 2018, the international sector recorded 4.3 million passengers with a five per cent y-o-y increase while the domestic sector recorded 3.9 million passengers, a decline of 3.9 per cent y-o-y.

MIDF Research attributed the decline to the total capacity cuts of 1.4 per cent.

Despite the drop, the research arm’s optimism continued, fuelled by the increase of international traffic which more than offset the decline in domestic traffic.

“Moving forward, we expect the momentum to continue in subsequent months, buoyed by key events in May and June, namely Ramadhan, Eid-fitr and worldwide summer holidays.”

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