Macquarie has sold its 50.1% stake in Hobart Airport. Last week Oz Traveller talked about the impending sale and one of the potential buyers, French infrastructure firm VINCI.
But it has emerged today that VINCI missed the boat. The winning bid is a consortium between QIC Ltd and Dutch company, Royal Schiphol Group. They’ve bought the Macquarie stake and also a further 19.9% stake from Tasplan.
The price has not been disclosed but the Financial Review notes a source saying “the deal valued the airport at 25 to 26 times earnings” and that it was considered a fair price.
QIC Ltd and Royal Schiphol will each have a 35% stake and operate as independent shareholders. Tasplan will retain the remaining 30% stake.
It is believed the deal was signed off on today, Tuesday, October 1, 2019.
QIC is the Queensland Government owned investment company. Amongst other things, it has interests in Brisbane port and Brisbane Airport.
Schiphol owns Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. It has investments in big and small airports around the world including a 19% stake in Brisbane’s Airport. So QIC and Schiphol are well used to working together.
Airline and passenger traffic at Hobart Airport is trending upwards and the airport is experiencing growing pains. Over two and a half million passengers passed through the airport in the last financial year and there are some 360 scheduled passenger flights each week. QIC has noted that there is value to “be unlocked” from developing non aeronautical business at Hobart Airport, including retail, F&B, ground transport and property development.
Whether the new consortium will bring the same focus on developing routes out of Hobart that VINCI proposed remains to be seen. In their comments regarding their successful bid, neither party mentioned it.
Only time will tell whether they propose to develop business at the airport or maintain the status quo and extract value from their investment. With any luck they will be able to do both.