February 10, 2020 / 6:41 PM / 13 days ago

UPDATE 1-ADP expects Paris airports traffic to grow by up to 2.5% this year

(Adds comments from CFO on coronavirus)

PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - French airport operator ADP said on Monday traffic at its Paris airports could grow by 2% to 2.5% this year, though it said that target did not take into account the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

That forecast rate would be little changed from last year’s 2.5%, but well below 2018’s 3.8% and 2017’s 4.5% growth.

ADP, a potential candidate for privatisation, also said in a statement it expects its consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to grow by between 3.5% and 5.5% in 2020.

“At this stage, the impact (of coronavirus) on our traffic and also on our EBITDA remains limited. We are in a low season, with reduced traffic coming from or going to Asia,” ADP’s chief financial officer Philippe Pascal told a conference call.

“We remain vigilant. Those impacts could amplify over the next weeks in unpredictable orders of magnitude”, Pascal added.

The World Health Organization said on Monday the spread of coronavirus cases among people who have not been to China could be “the spark that becomes a bigger fire”, and that the human race must not let the epidemic get out of control.

ADP’s chief financial officer also said the company had lost around 100,000 passengers in December due to strikes in France over President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plan.

“It remains marginal”, Pascal said however, as ADP recorded 108 million passengers last year in its two Paris airports.

The company will propose a dividend of 3.70 euros ($4.04) per share for 2019, stable compared with 2018.

$1 = 0.9163 euros Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Mark Potter and Jan Harvey

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