Bidders firm for Hobart Airport sale

26 June 2019 - 12:00 am UTC

Credit Suisse, MIRA’s adviser on the sale of its 50.01% share of Hobart Airport, on Tuesday (25 June), called for indicative bids by 24 July on the stake with binding bids due between late September and early October.

The information memorandum (IM) with further vendor due diligence on the prospect is due by the end of the week, according to four sources familiar with the situation.

In the meantime, a lengthy list of potential bidders has been assessing their chances, with several signing up advisers.

These include Lazard advising Dutch giant Schiphol Airport, Rothschild working with French airport operator Vinci, UBS with QIC, and Macquarie Capital advising super fund UniSuper, the sources said.

Infrastructure Capital Group also remains interested, although it does not have an adviser on board yet, according to the sources familiar.

Numerous market sources have put AMP Capital out of the running. A spokesperson for AMP Capital declined to comment.

Super funds HESTA and Cbus have also been suggested as bidders by several sources, linked with either IFM Investors or Morrison & Co. Pacific Equity Partners was also considering a bid, said the sources.

Spokespeople at these organisations declined to comment.

Marketing materials sent to potential bidders in May said the airport’s total EBITDA for the 2018 financial year to 30 June was AUD 33m (USD 23m). This had grown from AUD 16m in 2007 before MIRA bought its share, a compounded annual growth rate of about 7.6%, it said. Total debt facilities were AUD 195m, with AUD 20m of that undrawn, with cash on hand of AUD 18m.

Passenger numbers have risen from 1.8 million to 2.6 million in that time – one of the fastest airport growth rates in Australia.

Hobart Airport was privatised by the federal government in 1998 under a 99-year land lease, made up of a 50-year lease to 2048, with an option to extend for another 49 years to 2097.

Schiphol and Vinci were not immediately available for comment.

 

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