Cathay Pacific

Pudong on radar of HK airport

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am

Authority enters talks on investment in Shanghai facility's new cargo complex

The Hong Kong Airport Authority is in talks with the owners of Shanghai's Pudong International Airport about investing in the facility's Phase II cargo handling complex, according to a senior official.

The talks are at a very preliminary stage, with the size of the stake the major obstacle to any agreement on the complex, which is to be hived off into a subsidiary of the parent, Shanghai Airport Group.

Sources said the parent was soliciting strategic investors from a cross-section of the regional logistics industry, including airlines and airports.

'We have not really decided on the percentage, price, anything,' an Airport Authority source said yesterday. 'If all that is available is a small stake, it is unlikely we will be interested. If it's more meaningful, that could change things.'

The official would not be drawn on the size of a 'meaningful' stake.

'One per cent is not meaningful but we are not asking for 51 per cent either,' the source said. 'Capital investors are not an issue for them; there are plenty of potential investors. They are looking for names and expertise.'

Pudong airport, which is already space-constrained after two years of operation, said it handled 972,700 tonnes of cargo in the first half, up 14.6 per cent year on year. Shanghai's volume target for both of its airports - Pudong and Hongqiao, its domestic facility - is 2.5 million tonnes this year, up a comparative 13 per cent.

Phase II is expected to bring Pudong's cargo-handling capabilities to 4.5 million tonnes a year by 2015, meaning the new complex would have a similar capacity to Hongkong Air Cargo Terminal's SuperTerminal One, the world's biggest general air freight facility.

Cathay Pacific and Air China last month said that they would create a joint-venture all-cargo airline based in Shanghai as part of their closer equity partnership resulting from Cathay's proposed takeover of Dragonair.

Cathay yesterday said it had not been approached to invest in the new complex whereas Air China is expected to have a dedicated facility at Phase II.