DUBAI -- XXXXX mainly in the UAE.

In its 58 years of operation, 2016-2017 has been dnata's most profitable yet, crossing AED 1.2 billion (US$ 330 million) profit for the first time. Building on its strong results in the previous year, dnata's revenue grew to AED 12.2 billion (US$ 3.3 billion), up 15%. dnata's international business now accounts for 66% of its revenue.

This substantial revenue increase was achieved through organic growth, and bolstered by its new acquisitions of dnata Aviation Services in the US in April 2016 and Air Dispatch in the Czech Republic in July 2016, in addition to an increase in its shareholding of Oman United Agencies Travel in Oman, and the full year impact of dnata Brazil acquired during the previous year.

Building on last year's record levels of investment, dnata continued to lay the foundations for future growth by investing more than AED 1 billion (US$ 272 million) into developing its people, facilities, technology and new acquisitions.

In 2016-2017, dnata's operating costs increased accordingly by 15% to AED 11.0 billion (US$ 3.0 billion), reflecting the impact of integrating the newly acquired companies mainly across its international airport operations.

dnata's cash balance remains very solid at AED 3.4 billion (US$ 926 million) and close to last year's record high. The business delivered an AED 1.3 billion (US$ 350 million) cash flow from operating activities in 2017, which is similar to last year's company record.

dnata's employee strength increased to over 40,000, a 20% substantial growth which includes employees from its newly acquired companies. With the business' growing international footprint, dnata's staff ratio based outside the UAE has further increased to 56%.

Revenue from dnata's UAE Airport Operations, including aircraft and cargo handling increased by 6% to reach AED 3.0 billion (US$ 823 million).

In line with revenue growth, the number of aircraft handled by dnata in the UAE increased 2% to 216,000, and Cargo handling by 4% to 714,000 tonnes showing a first turnaround sign of the cargo industry's ongoing malaise.

During the year, dnata also inaugurated its new AED 25 million export customer service centre and cargo integrated control centre in the Dubai Airport Free Zone, enhancing its overall product offering for airlines, freight forwarders and shippers.

dnata's International Airport Operations division grew revenue substantially by 59% to AED 3.3 billion (US$ 906 million), on account of increasing business volumes and newly acquired businesses in the US, as well as the full year impact of dnata Brazil and dnata BV (Netherlands).

International airport operations now represent the largest business segment in dnata by revenue contribution. The number of aircraft handled by the division more than doubled within a year by 129% to 408,000, and Cargo noted a substantial growth of 56% to 2.1 million tonnes of handled goods, mainly driven by the full year consideration of dnata BV which was acquired in the last financial year.

Revenue from dnata's Travel Services division has seen a slight decline of 5% to AED 3.1 billion (US$ 854 million). The underlying total transaction value (TTV) of travel services sold decreased by 9% to AED 10.7 billion (US$ 2.9 billion). These trends are the reflection of lower travel demand mainly from Corporates and Government entities in the Gulf region as well as the decline in value of the British pound against the US dollar after the Brexit decision.

dnata's Catering business accounted for AED 2.0 billion (US$ 547 million) of its total revenue, up 7%. The inflight catering business uplifted more than 60 million meals during the year, an increase of 7% on account of higher volumes in a number of markets and in line with revenue growth. During the year, it opened a new purpose-built facility in Cairns, extending dnata's network of kitchens in Australia to 11, and completed the build of a new Melbourne facility which will commence operations in mid-2017.

Source: Emirates News Agency