Profit increase for MAG

Rachael Tinniswood

Manchester Airports Group has seen a rise in profit for the first time in two years.

The country's second largest airports operator has seen its annual operating profits rise by 16.4%, from £82.9m to £96.5m, after the company cut down on its outgoings and capitalised on its car parks and retail business.

The success is a huge turnaround for the group, which saw its earnings hit hard in 2006 and 2007, as security and utility bills went up, while the increasing number of low-cost flights available resulted in lower prices.

In the 12 months prior to March 31 2008, the rising retail and car parks income pushed group revenues from £385.5m to £395.7m. The Manchester arm saw income rise 3.2% to £286.5m.

However, although passenger numbers rose across the group, which operates Humberside, Bournemouth, Manchester and East Midlands Airports, from 28.6m to 29.2m, in Manchester figures fell by 200,000 to 22m.

The group will pay its shareholders, the ten local authorities of Greater Manchester, a dividend of £26m – a rise of £1m on previous payouts.

It is currently following a £1m-a-week investment programme to improve its terminals and other facilities for passengers.

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