Macquarie moves to bolster BrisConnections

After selling its stake in the toll road last November, Macquarie has reinvested in the beleaguered project to which it lent A$323 million, amid speculation from market commentators that the project is in danger of 'falling over'.

Macquarie Capital Advisers has made a new equity investment in a Brisbane-based airport toll road it divested last year to protect the repayments on an A$323 million loan it made to the project.

“Macquarie will have come to the same conclusion as I did,”Robert Gottliebsen wrote in The Business Spectator, “ that unless someone moved quickly, the whole BrisConnections project was in danger of falling over.”

The share price of BrisConnections, a 45 year concession to build and operate the Brisbane Airport Link, has plummeted from A$1.00 on its debut on the Australian Stock Exchange in July last year, to just 0.1 cents  in November when Macquarie, the sole book-runner, sold its 7.2 percent stake for a loss.

Macquarie recently re-acquired over 8 percent, or 31 million shares, and has provided a A$92 million bridging loan in a bid to stave off liquidity problems at BrisConnections.

The project faces an impending A$390 million capital call from shareholders.

Macquarie has started legal action at Queensland’s Supreme Court to force BrisConnections’ shareholders to “fulfil their contractual obligations” in providing the capital. This would protect Macquarie’s unpaid loans of A$323 million and the A$1.17 billion equity in the project that Macquarie co-underwrote with Deutsche Bank.