Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali says the airport operator is currently identifying potential foreign airports to invest in via privatisation model. NST picture by AIZUDDIN SAAD.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) wants to expand its airport management portfolio in Asia and Europe.

MAHB has been managing the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISGIA) in Turkey since 2008 and began providing facilities maintenance services at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar in Apri, 2015.

MAHB, which also manages 39 airports in Malaysia, announced recently that it sold its entire 11 per cent stake in GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd to India’s GMR Airports for US$76.05 million in cash in late February this year.

Its managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said the airport operator is currently identifying potential foreign airports to invest in via privatisation model.

“Our primary target is in Asia. There is a lot of opportunity as the neighbouring Asean countries are stepping up to upgrade and continue to look at different model for privatisation.

“We want to be close to that opportunity. Even in Japan there is a plan to look at airports privatisation,” he told NSTP Business in an interview recently.

Badlisham said MAHB is interested in managing airports in Asia, especial the Indian sub-continent, Asean and North Asia.

He explained that the potential asset acquisition would not be solely on buying airport stakes but also offering interesting operational airports facility management and services.

In Europe, Badlisham said MAHB would be looking at matured assets but it is still in an evaluation stage.

“We have been asked to explore developing markets in the Middle-East but there is nothing to commit as yet. In Europe, we are familiar with some of the happenings in certain countries but we are talking to partners that will take us into those opportunities,” he added.

On plans to establish MAHB’s international subsidiary called Malaysia Airports International Sdn Bhd, Badlisham said it would be finalised by the year-end.

“We want to create a subsidiary to house our international assets. The international unit will oversee MAHB’s Turkish operation and other potential airports in the future,” he said, adding that the unit will be based in Malaysia.

On plans to dispose a minority stake in Turkish airport, Badlisham said MAHB is currently evaluating strategic partners, citing that its concession runs until 2034.

“We would like to finalise it as soon as possible. But we can’t rush this kind of ‘marriage’. The asset is attractive and the numbers (value) have gone up.

“The airport is very encouraged by international growth with international travel starting to pick up. That is attractive proposition for us, travelling passengers and airlines as well as investors,” he said.

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