* Fraport sees no growth in passengers at Frankfurt airport
* Earnings outlook falls short of consensus
* Shares down more than 3.0 percent
(Recasts, adds CEO, analyst comment, shares)
By Peter Dinkloh and Maria Sheahan
FRANKFURT, March 12 German airport operator
Fraport predicted zero growth in passenger numbers at
its main Frankfurt hub this year and lower net profit as a weak
economic climate prompts airlines to reduce capacity.
Fraport, whose biggest customer is German flagship carrier
Lufthansa, said on Tuesday net profit would shrink
this year from the 238 million euros ($310 million) reported for
The company said this reflected the impact of costs from a
fourth runway opened in 2011 and expansion of one of two
terminals at Frankfurt, Europe's third-busiest airport by
Fraport's cautious outlook fell short of analysts'
expectations, which had looked for an increase in Frankfurt
passenger numbers this year after the airport's expansion.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had also forecast a rise in net
income this year to 254 million euros.
"The macro-economic environment will also remain challenging
in 2013," Chief Executive Stefan Schulte said. He also cited
burdens on the aviation industry from a planned European
emissions trading scheme and from Germany's air travel tax.
Fraport's shares fell 3.7 percent to 43.37 euros by 1040
GMT, one of the biggest fallers on the German midcap MDAX index
, which was flat.
"I think they are very cautious after their harsh
disappointment last year, when they had to lower their
expectations for passenger growth by half," said Equinet analyst
Jochen Rothenbacher, who had estimated an increase in passenger
numbers for 2013 of 1.5 percent.
DZ Bank analyst Robert Czerwensky said he had expected a 1
percent gain in passenger volume there this year.
CEO Schulte told journalists at a news conference that
business had been "very good" so far in March and that an upturn
in the economy could boost the number of travellers.
Airlines in Frankfurt plan to reduce flight movements by 1.4
percent in the European summer, Fraport said. Lufthansa, which
accounts for more than 50 percent of Fraport's business in
Frankfurt, had reduced its capacity by 3 percent in its European
Fraport forecast earnings before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortisation (EBITDA) rising to between 870 million euros
and 890 million euros from 850.7 million in 2012, missing
analysts' consensus forecast of 910 million euros.
For last year, Fraport reported a 6 percent rise in core
profit (EBITDA), but its net profit fell by about 1 percent on
financing costs as well as a slump in profit at its ground
The airport operator has made major investments to boost the
number of passengers it handles at Frankfurt airport, driving up
its interest costs by a quarter in 2012 and boosting net debt by
11 percent to 2.9 billion euros ($3.8 billion).
The Frankfurt investments weighed on earnings at Fraport's
aviation business, which generates about a third of group
revenues but less than a quarter of operating profit.
The addition of 12,000 square metres of retail space at the
expanded terminal boosted Fraport's retail income. Net revenue
per passenger at Frankfurt airport rose almost 5 percent.
As expected, Fraport will pay a dividend of 1.25 euros per
share for 2012, unchanged from a year earlier.
($1 = 0.7684 euros)
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan. Editing by Harro ten Wolde and