EMEA: Vinci completes OMERS airports takeover

29 August 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Vinci Airports has reached financial close on its acquisition of a portfolio of airports owned by OMERS Infrastructure, giving it full ownership of Belfast International Airport as well as a foothold in the US airport sector.

The French investor said on Wednesday (29 August) it has completed the takeover of eight airport assets, following clearance from regulatory authorities in the UK, US, Sweden and Costa Rica.

Vinci signed an agreement to buy OMERS’ Airport Worldwide portfolio last April.

It hasn’t disclosed the value of the deal, which includes a mix of freehold ownership assets, concessions, management contracts and part management contracts.

But sources familiar said the portfolio’s value is likely to be above EUR 300m, adding that Vinci is likely to have funded the acquisition on balance sheet, as has been done in previous airport deals.

Inframation understands that whilst there was no formal auction process, OMERS was approached by several parties to sell some of its airports before reaching an agreement with Vinci for the entire portfolio.

Back in 2013, OMERS bought the same airport package from AENA and Abertis for EUR 284m.

The assets include two freehold ownership contracts, for 100% of Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland and for 90% of Skavsta Airport in Sweden.

Belfast Airport is seen by experts as the main asset in the portfolio, as well as a major addition to Vinci Airports’ mix of airports. According to 2016 results, the company recorded revenues of GBP 34.8m and an operating profit of GBP 2.9m. Last year, it recorded 5.8m passengers.

Also included in the portfolio are a 100% stake in the concession contract for Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida and a 45% in the concessionaire of Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Costa Rica.

The Orlando airport concession, expiring in 2039 and with 2.9m passengers recorded last year, is said to be the most strategic of the assets acquired as part of the OMERS portfolio. “It’s not a huge asset and might have not been so important for OMERS, but for Vinci it is a strategic buy,” a source said. “People are trying to gain exposure to the US whilst waiting for potential privatisations of north American airports.”

Other assets in the portfolio include full and partial management contracts for the following US airports: Hollywood Burbank Airport and Ontario International Airport in California; Macon Downtown Airport and Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Georgia; Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey; Raleigh Durham International Airport in North Carolina; and part of the international terminal at the airport in Atlanta, Georgia, the world’s largest airport in terms of traffic.

For one of OMERS’ Costa Rican assets, the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José, existing shareholder CCR Group exercised its pre-emption right. As a result, this asset has not been transferred to Vinci.

Vinci’s network has now expanded to include 44 airports in 11 countries following the OMERS deal, Vinci said in a Wednesday (29 August) statement. It has added 21m passengers bringing the total to 180m per year, it said.

OMERS was advised by O’Melveny (legal) and Citi (financial). Vinci was advised by Orrick (legal) in connection with the acquisition of the entire airport portfolio, and by Pinsent Masons (legal) for the acquisition of Belfast Airport.

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