Airports of Thailand Q1 profit up 22 pct, beats estimates

BANGKOK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Airports of Thailand Pcl (AOT) said on Wednesday net profit rose 22.3 percent in the first quarter, beating estimates, as the country’s main airports operator benefited from a tourism boom last year.

Net profit came in at 6.2 billion baht ($197.70 million), it said in a statement, above expectations of 5.8 billion baht in a Reuters poll.

Nearly 35 million tourists visited Thailand last year, aiding growth for hotels, malls and the airport operator, and the country expects that figure to grow by 6 percent in 2018.

AOT, which operates six international airports including the country’s main Suvarnabhumi airport, said revenue from passenger fees, and aircraft landing and parking charges rose 16.4 percent to 8.2 billion baht in the three months ended December.

Rent and fees from concessions and services were also up 15 percent at 6.4 billion baht from a year earlier, the majority state-owned company said.

As tourist arrivals surge, AOT said it will accommodate demand by developing airport infrastructure.

It may also increase management of airports under its portfolio to include those currently managed by the government, it said.

Rapid expansion of low cost airlines and cheaper airfares also helped growth, AOT said. ($1 = 31.3600 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)