Macau govt could take full stake in territory’s international airport

10 August 2007

Macau, China, 10 Aug – The Macau government is studying the possibility of acquiring all shares in the Macau International Airport Company (CAM) and investing 10 billion patacas (US$ 1.25 billion) in upgrading its facilities and operational capacity, officials said.

CAM was created in 1989 with initial equity of 1.5 billion patacas (around US$ 200 million) with the Macau government holding a 55.4 percent stake in the airport and casino magnate Stanley Ho’s STDM with 33.03 percent of shares. The remaining stock was held by investors in the territory and in mainland China.

The announcement of the state buy-up of CAM was made Thursday by Macau’s chief executive, Edmund Ho, who told the Legislative Assembly that the government considers taking control of the airport as the only way “to make necessary investments in the airport without having to think of great financial results.”

“It is an essential investment for the long-term development of the airport, taking into account the forecasts for future growth of tourism and business,” Ho told Macau’s lawmakers.

Ho also revealed that six Macau casino operators have asked for their private planes to be registered and based in the territory, but current limits on the airport’s capacity mean the authorities are having difficulty in meeting these requests.

Macau’s airport, added Ho, is changing from being a transit point for many passengers into a final destination.

More than 2.6 million passengers used the airport in the first six months of this year, a 17 percent increase in a year-on-year comparison. Total take-offs and landings rose by 6 percent in the first half of the year in an annual comparison.

Macau International Airport, opened in 1995 with a capacity for 6 million passengers per year, was used by 4.9 visitors to the territory in 2006. (macauhub)