CFO Siphamndla Mththwa: Acsa sees worst financial performance in its 28-year history

Siphamandla explains that the loss is due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the aviation sector.

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has seen its worst financial performance in its 28-year history, reporting a loss of R2.6 billion for its financial year ended 31 March 2021.

According to group CFO Siphamandla Mthethwa, this came in the context of the “devastating impact of the Covid-19 financial fallout on the aviation sector globally”, with the sector experiencing losses of around $125 billion (around R1.8 trillion) worldwide.

Passenger numbers for the year plunged to just 4.6 million, compared with around 21 million passengers in the previous financial year and prior to the pandemic. This resulted in the group’s revenue plummeting from R7.1 billion in its financial year ending March 2020, to R2.2 billion for its 2021 financial year.

“The R2.6 billion loss is the group’s second-ever loss,” Siphamandla said. “But Acsa was in a strong financial position before Covid-19, which enabled us to go into the pandemic with a stronger balance sheet.”

He explained that Acsa had taken “decisive action” to boost its liquidity to weather the Covid-19 storm, and that the company is in a much stronger position now as the aviation sector recovers.

Some of these measures included cutting back on capital and operating expenditure, raising R2.3 billion via a state-backed preference share debt instrument, as well as the sale of its stake in India’s Mumbai International Airport.

Siphamandla reiterated that Acsa’s balance sheet remains strong and the group continues as a going concern, with R32 billion in assets, despite posting an operating loss last year due to Covid-19.