Airport operator GMR Airports Infrastructure is actively pursuing inorganic opportunities overseas, especially in the Middle East, South Asia, the Philippines, and Jakarta, while within India, it is looking at available brownfield opportunities.

The company is interested only in airports with the capacity to handle over 5 million passengers, the management said at a recent analyst conference of Kotak Institutional Equities, “Chasing Growth 2024.”

GMR Airports Infrastructure operates five airports, three in India, including Delhi, and two overseas. In the first nine months of FY24, its airports handled around 100 million passengers, up 22 per cent on year. Most of the passenger traffic is contributed by Delhi, the busiest airport in the country.

Rajiv Jain-led investment firm GQG Partner holds nearly 5 per cent stake in the company, and Jain, in a recent interview with a television channel, said that he was bullish on the stock as he expected Delhi airport alone to have a valuation of over $10 billion.

The stock has more than doubled over the last one year.

Overseas opportunities

While speaking to analysts at the conference, the company officials made it clear that it was not looking to acquire airport assets aggressively but only those that could potentially improve the international passenger mix.

The gateway airport opportunities it is eyeing are in those countries and regions where a robust regulatory framework is already in place for ease of business. It would also look to tie up with a local partner familiar with the local regulations and can facilitate the process, while GMR would be focused on running the airport operations.

The two overseas airports in GMR’s portfolio are in Indonesia and the Philippines, and both have shown an impressive surge in passenger movement in FY24 so far, especially the one in Cebu that saw a 54 per cent rise.

Domestic opportunities

There are limited opportunities for greenfield airports in India, but the company is looking at brownfield projects and plans to participate in the various airport privatization opportunities in the country. However, it would only pursue those that can handle over 5 million passengers annually.

The company has had success in the airports it acquired, as evidenced by the Goa airport that became EBITDA positive in just three quarters. It is also expanding its capacity to 8 million passengers from 4.4 million , which can be further boosted to 33 million over a 55-year concession period. The airport has already started handling international operations, and considering the profile of tourists visiting Goa, the spend per passenger is on par with Delhi.

Last year, it consolidated its hold on Hyderabad International Airport, buying 11 per cent more from Malaysia Airports Holding to take its stake to 74 per cent.