Aena continues to improve its performance every quarter. The airport manager earned 1,018.5 million euros up to September, which represents 5.5% more than in the same period of 2017. The result is the result of a positive evolution of its business and the decrease of its financial expense, explained the company, which also recorded a higher expense for corporate tax.
In the sales chapter, Aena achieved total revenues of 3,250.4 million euros, which represents an increase of 5% compared to the first nine months of the previous year. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the improvement registered in its commercial revenues. They added 877.4 million, 8.2% more than in the previous year. These revenues already represent 27% of the total obtained by the company, a very relevant fact considering that the company has agreed on a policy of cutting fees at its airports for the next few years with which it intends to attract business and compete with the facilities of the bordering countries. The company chaired by Ignasi Lucena has also highlighted the contribution to income from international activity, in which Luton Airport contributes 172.8 million euros.
The gross operating profit (ebitda) obtained by Aena between January and September 2018 was 2,032.2 million euros, 4.3% more than in the same period of 2017. Its cash generation reached 1,772.7 million of euros, 2.8% less than the 1,823.3 million euros achieved in the first nine months of 2017, affected by the collection in 2017 of the return of corporate tax for the year 2015, among other reasons. Excluding the extraordinary impacts, the operating cash flow would have increased by 5.7%. The manager's net financial debt now stands at 6,565 million euros, compared to 6,948 million euros at the end of 2017. The ratio of net financial debt to EBITDA decreased from 2.8 times as of December 31, 2017 to 2.6 times at the end of September 2018. This is a very important parameter to measure the financial health of a company as it measures its capacity to face the payment of its debt. In 2011, this ratio was 13.7 times in the case of Aena.
The good health of the traffic in its airports contributed decisively to the good results of Aena until September. The number of passengers registered at the airports of its network in Spain during the period stood at 204.1 million passengers, 5.5% more than in 2017. International traffic accounted for 70% of the total, with growth of 3.5%, and the increase of 10.6% of national traffic.
Including the data from Luton Airport, the number of Aena passengers amounted to 216.8 million, 5.4% more than in the same period of 2017. Between January and September Luton Airport registered 12.7 million passengers (2.8% more).