Small shareholders of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) have reasons to cheer. A meeting of the company’s board of directors on Saturday decided to issue additional shares worth Rs.1.48 crore to small shareholders. The special benefit will be subject to Central government clearance.

The small shareholders had raised the demand at the annual general body meeting last year. The shares will be issued at a ratio of 1:1, subject to a maximum of 2,000 shares.

Minister for Ports and Excise K. Babu, a director board member, said the decision had to be approved by the annual general meeting and the Union government.

The move, if implemented, would reduce the government’s share in the company from 32.50 per cent to 30.75 per cent. The decision is being seen as an act of consideration for small shareholders.

At the meeting, the board observed that CIAL’s total revenue rose to Rs.307 crore from Rs.275 crore in 2011-12. The company’s net profit had also increased by Rs.10 crore touching Rs.112 crore. Mr. Babu said the profit exceeded expectations by Rs.8 crore. The board has decided to enhance the dividend to shareholders to 17 per cent from last fiscal’s 16 per cent.

Upcoming projects

CIAL has approached the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority for the construction of a new international terminal. Approval is expected within two months. The foundation stone for the Rs.450-crore terminal is likely to be laid in September.

The direct BPCL pipeline set up at an investment of Rs.70 crore for transporting fuel directly to the airport will be commissioned on July 6. The project is expected to benefit the airport immensely.

Mr. Babu said the State government, as promised, would implement a package in three years for families who gave up land for the airport. As part of the package, taxi permits had been issued to 80 more persons. Besides, those aged between 25 and 30 years are being given free training at the fire and rescue wing of the airport.

Later, while inaugurating the 100-kilowatt solar panel set up atop the international terminal Mr. Babu said CIAL would take up an 8-megawatt solar project at an investment of Rs.1 crore. The annual power bill of CIAL comes up to around Rs.12 crore, prompting the company to look for alternative energy sources.

The CIAL infrastructure company was formed with the aim of expanding beyond airport services. Discussions will be held with the Kerala State Electricity Board in this regard. BPCL has expressed interest in investing heavily in the CIAL infrastructure company. Discussions in this regard would be held shortly, Mr. Babu said.

CIAL set up the solar panel at a cost of Rs.98 lakh out of which Rs.30 lakh was allotted as government subsidy.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy presided over the meeting. Chief secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan, CIAL managing director V.J. Kurian, director board members M.A. Yusuff Ali, E.M. Babu, C.V. Jacob, M. Mohammadali, and N.V. George attended the meeting.

More In: Kochi