407 ETR posts weaker traffic, flat revenue

The Canadian toll road’s traffic fell 5% while revenues remained essentially unchanged at C$120m. Next month marks the 10 year anniversary of the C$3.1bn deal that has put the 407 in the hands of Cintra and Macquarie.

Macquarie Infrastructure Group- (MIG) and Cintra-owned Canadian toll road 407 ETR saw its traffic plummet in the first quarter of the year even as revenues remained essentially flat.

Traffic on the 108-kilometer road in Ontario declined 4.6 percent over the same quarter last year, as measured by vehicle kilometers traveled. The road earned revenues of C$119 million (€75 million; $98 million), versus $120 million in the first quarter of last year.

407 ETR: flat

On a year-to-date basis, the ETR has posted modest rise in revenues of 1.4 percent from July 2008 to March 2009, versus the same period the previous year. Despite weakening traffic, most of the nine toll roads in MIG’s portfolio also experienced an increase in their year-to-date revenues thanks to increases in tolls, MIG said in a statement.

The ETR’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBTIDA) also remained resilient. The ETR cleared EBITDA of C$93.8 million for the first quarter of 2009, versus $92.5 million in the same quarter last year.

The 407 has been under the management of the 407 International concession company for nearly 10 years. May 2009 will mark the tenth anniversary of the C$3.1 billion deal, still the biggest toll road lease in Canada’s history.

Today, the 407 ETR is 53.2 percent owned by Cintra, 30 percent by MIG and 16.8 percent by SNC Lavalin. It averaged about 375,000 daily trips in 2007.