Macquarie launches sale of Brussels Airport

21 November 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Teasers for Macquarie’s sale of its 36% stake in Brussels Airport were released last week, with the seller and potential buyers alike expecting a competitive auction. 

Canadian pension plan OMERS, APG Asset Management, Allianz and PGGM are understood to be interested in bidding, while Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC is believed to be supporting a bidder with junior debt, according to a well-placed source. 

The Flemish government’s investment fund (PMV) is yet to determine whether it will bid.

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) was mooted as a potential bidder while Canada’s CPPIB was also interested in the sale. But a source said CPPIB’s interest may have been dulled by their pursuit of Gatwick Airport.

OMERS, Allianz and CPPIB declined to comment. 

Another Canadian pension plan, OTPP, which owns 39% of the airport, waived its pre-emptive rights over Macquarie’s stake and will not be involved in the sale, it is understood. 

OTPP filed a high court injunction to try and stop Macquarie from disclosing confidential information about the airport as part of the sale in 2017. The case is believed to have been settled in the summer.   

Requests for qualifications are due to be released in the next two to three weeks, said a source following the deal. 

A source and a person following the process said Macquarie’s 36% stake in the airport is expected to fetch an equity-only value of between EUR 1.5bn and EUR 1.9bn. This would give an enterprise value of the whole business at most EUR 5.27bn, which is equivalent to an EV/EBITDA multiple of around 17 times. 

But Macquarie is understood to be expecting an EBITDA multiple in the mid 20s. 

Macquarie declined to comment. 

Brussels Airport posted EUR 305m in EBITDA for the financial year 2017, according to a Moody’s credit report in July.

MIRA’s ownership of its 36% stake in Brussels Airport is held by two of its fixed-life funds – Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 1 (MEIF1) which holds a 10% interest and Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 3 (MEIF3) which has 26%.

Macquarie has been invested in Brussels Airport since its original privatisation in 2004.

JP Morgan is advising the seller on the auction.