Genève aéroport's financial results
The year 2020 was marked by the effects of the health crisis linked to Covid-19. For the first time in its history, Genève Aéroport recorded a huge loss of 129.5 million CHF against a profit of 84.1 million CHF in 2019.
The crisis, which is unprecedented since the end of World War II, has hit the airline industry hard. Air traffic has collapsed as a result of health measures adopted throughout the year by governments and the almost total suspension of all activity for many weeks to combat the spread of the virus. In 2020, Genève Aéroport’s revenues plunged to 191.2 million CHF against 493.9 million (-302.7 million CHF). The drop in passenger traffic has led to a reduction in aeronautical revenues to 94.3 million CHF: 184.4 million less than in 2019. Non-aeronautical revenues have also been strongly affected by the drop in passenger traffic and by the successive closings of businesses decided by the authorities over the months, falling to 96.9 million CHF: a decrease of 118.4 million compared to 2019. Against the backdrop of 2020’s unprecedented health crisis, aeronautical revenues represented 49.3% of income, while non-aeronautical revenues (shops, car parks, rent, etc.) represented 50.7% of income (against 56.4% and 43.6% respectively in 2019).
In 2020, the operating profit margin before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) is negative at -31.3%, compared to a positive margin of 31.7% in 2019. The adjusted EBITDA margin for exceptional items (equipment and material to tackle the pandemic - masks, hand sanitising gel, displays, disinfection work, expenses for the 100th anniversary celebrations, provisions relating to bonuses paid to retirees and those celebrating jubilees) is -27.1%, compared to 36.8% in 2019.
|Operating cash flow||-8.6||171.3|
|Investing cash flow||-126.5||-232.5|
*Borrowings and other non-current and current debts, less cash and cash equivalents
|EBIDTA / Turnover||-31.3%||31.7%|
|Net profit / Turnover||-67.7%||17.0%|
|Operating cash flow /
Investing cash flow
|EBITDA / Net debt||-9.7%||48.2%|
Distribution of income
Aeronautical income (grey) and non-aeronautical income (blue). Data shown in %.
Reactivity and substantial voluntary cost-saving measures
Faced with a sharp deterioration in traffic in mid-March, operating costs were the subject of various urgent and ongoing cost-saving measures. With the aim of protecting the economic longevity of Genève Aéroport, financial planning and forecasts, particularly cash flow plans, were regularly revised throughout the year.
In the end, the substantial voluntary cost-saving measures put in place by General Management have made it possible to reduce staffing costs by 19.5 million CHF, excluding exceptional cases (-12.3% compared to 2019), reduce operating expenses by 68 million CHF (-39.7% compared to 2019) and reduce capital expenditure by 115 million CHF (-46.1% compared to 2019 ).
Having frozen and postponed several dozen projects in September and December, Genève Aéroport's investments amounted to 134.6 million CHF in 2020. In 2019, these investments had reached a historic level of nearly 250 million CHF. Larger projects have been protected, such as the East Wing, the replacement of baggage sorting (BLC), and the development of the thermal network in collaboration with SIG (GeniLac).
Average rwh rate 27.5% in 2020
The reduction in staffing costs is the result of several joined-up actions. These measures namely include the reimbursement collected for short-time working which, with an overall rate of approximately 27.5% in reduced working hours (RWH) in 2020, made it possible to collect more than 21 million CHF in the reimbursement of salary costs. Several other measures have had an impact on the decrease in staffing costs, such as an employment freeze, the automatic non-replacement of vacated positions, non-renewal of fixed-term contracts, removal of bonuses, the offsetting of balances for work hours and annual leave and the extension of incentives for early retirement. At the end of 2020, Genève Aéroport employed 1,041 full-time equivalents (FTE) compared to 1,070 FTE at the end of 2019. Job reduction measures continued in early 2021, with 1,018 FTE at the end of January 2021.
The sharp drop in operating costs is explained by a reduction in surveillance/security costs, in line with the drop in traffic and by numerous actions taken to reduce costs, such as the suppression of professional travel expenses until the end of December 2020, mothballing of certain types of equipment, and reducing the fees and services budget by more than 30%, including spending on studies for major infrastructure projects.
Securing cash flow: a priority action
In times of crisis, protecting cash flow is a priority measure. Genève Aéroport demonstrated its ability to adapt and impressive flexibility by preparing for a new bond loan in record time. At the end of April 2020, Genève Aéroport returned to the financial markets to secure the company’s level of financing. A bond loan was issued for a total of 300 million CHF for a coupon of 1.050% over a period of three years.
The work of Genève Aéroport teams, who adapted the finance strategy after developing multi-scenario financial simulation models of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on air traffic, made it possible to manage activities in an agile manner throughout 2020 and ensure the economic longevity of the airport. The active participation of all teams in finding and implementing cost-saving measures and the continued support of the Board of Directors were also successful factors in managing the effects of the crisis. In addition, since the spring, a three-party group made up of representatives from Genève Aéroport, the Department of Finance for the State of Geneva and the Department of Infrastructure for the State of Geneva has been responsible for monitoring the development of the airport’s financial situation.
At the end of the financial year and taking into account the historic loss of 129.5 million CHF, Genève Aéroport’s bank debt reached 623.8 million CHF: 299 million more than in 2019. Total financial charges for 2020 amount to 4.8 million CHF. Moreover, given this loss, the State as owner will not receive a fee for the year 2020. As a reminder, since the creation of the autonomous public institution in 1994, retrocessions to the State (profit sharing and surface area rents) amount to a total of 658 million CHF.
Success of negotiations on aeronautical charges
Negotiations on the revision of aeronautical fees for the period 2021-2023 were held in 2020. An agreement on a price increase has been reached with the airlines. This is a major success in an unprecedented crisis experienced by all stakeholders involved in aviation, and places Genève Aéroport in a favourable position for recovery.