JP Morgan secures A$529m refinancing for Aussie airports

North Queensland Airports, which operates two Australian airports and is majority-owned by institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management, has secured the refinancing from a club of five banks.

North Queensland Airports Group (NQA), which operates Australia’s Cairns and Mackay airports, has successfully refinanced A$529 million (€398 million; $564 million) of senior debt covering several acquisition facilities and giving the group funds for capital expenditure over the next five years.

NQA is owned by institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management; Auckland International Airport (25 percent); The Infrastructure Fund, which is managed by Hastings Funds Management (20 percent); and property group Perron (5 percent).

The refinancing was provided by the original banks that financed the acquisition – including Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group – plus newcomer Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

Hastings’ Matthew Lordback commented in a statement: “The fact that Hastings and JP Morgan were able to actively support management in the refinancing without the need for external financial advice further demonstrates the strength of the banking relationships NQA has developed.” To which Jason Zibarras, NQA chairman and chief investment officer of JP Morgan Asset Management Infrastructure Investments Group, added:

“We are very pleased with the results since acquisition: operational enhancement, passenger growth and non-aero business development. It is also pleasing to see the banking community recognise the continuing strengths of the business.”

Macay and Cairns airports, both located in Queensland, were privatised in December 2008 and January 2009 respectively under a 99-year contract with the Queensland government. The airports recorded passenger growth of 9.9 percent for the financial year ended June 30, 2011, NQA said in a statement.