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Malaysia Airports May Bid to Run China, Indonesia Facilities

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. (MAHB), the operator of Kuala Lumpur’s international airport, may bid to run facilities in China and Indonesia because of rising travel demand in the Asian nations.

The two countries are “growth areas” and in need of airport upgrades, Managing Director Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid said in a Nov. 27 interview in Sepang, near Kuala Lumpur. He declined to comment further on its bidding plans. The company already has operations in India and Turkey.

The airport operator is also in talks to build a theme park and golf course on land near airfields in Malaysia as it works on boosting earnings 70 percent in the five years through 2014. The company has already surpassed its Malaysian passenger goal for the period as low-cost carriers led by AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA) help make flying affordable to more people in the region.

The company is “on track” to meet its goal of increasing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to 1 billion ringgit ($328 million) in 2014, Bashir said. It expects to handle 70 million passengers a year in Malaysia by 2014, compared with a previous low-end forecast of 60 million, he said. The company handled 64 million last year, he said.

Maldives Airport

Separately, the company said yesterday it is studying its legal position after a venture with Bangalore, India-based GMR Group was stripped of the right to run an airport in the Maldives. The island nation’s new government faulted how the contract was awarded in 2010 by then-Prime Minister Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted in February. Malaysia Airports owns 23 percent of the operating venture.

Malaysia Airports rose as much 4.4 percent to 5.42 ringgit, the biggest gain since Dec. 28, and was trading at 5.39 ringgit as of 12:29 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. The shares have fallen 6.9 percent this year compared with a 5.3 percent advance in the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index. (FBMKLCI)

At Kuala Lumpur International, the airport operator plans to woo three or four new airlines a year, Bashir said. Air France and Malindo Air, a planned budget carrier backed by PT Lion Mentari Airlines, will begin flying from the airport next year.

The company is in talks with domestic and overseas businesses as it looks to develop 6,000 acres (2,400 hectares) of land surrounding its airports, Bashir said. He declined to comment further on the golf and theme park plans. It has agreed to build a factory-outlet mall on a 50-acre site near Kuala Lumpur airport with Mitsui Fudosan Co. Ltd, a Tokyo-listed real estate company.

Bashir declined to comment on whether Malaysia Airports will bid to buy Stansted Airport in England. The Sunday Telegraph reported Nov. 25 that the company will join a group including Manchester Airport Group to bid for the facility. It didn’t give say how it got the information.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elffie Chew in Kuala Lumpur at echew16@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow in Hong Kong at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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