Macquarie to offload stake in Japan airport operator(3)

A listed infrastructure company managed by Australia’s Macquarie Group, has decided to jettison its 19.9 percent stake in Japan Airport Terminal as the company adapts to the ‘changed external environment’.

Sydney-based Macquarie Group is jettisoning a minority stake in Japan airport operator, Japan Airport Terminal (JAT).

The listed infrastructure company, Macquarie Airports, said it was tendering its 19.9 percent stake into a share buy back scheme being orchestrated by JAT, which operates Tokyo International Airport and shops and catering concessions at other airports in Japan.

The company said it would realise a maximum amount of A$260 million (€147 million; $200 million) from the sale – below the A$356 million it paid for the stake two years ago.

Chief executive of Macquarie Airports, Kerrie Mather, said Macquarie saw opportunity to participate in the long-term growth of JAP when it made the original investment. That ostensibly came from the delivery of a forth runway at Haneda. Mather said: “While we still expect JAT’s strategy to bear fruit, the external environment has changed significantly since we made the investment and, given the size of our interest, we will not have the opportunity to apply active management.”

Macquarie Airports has been responding to current conditions by deleveraging investments. It announced the deleveraging of Sydney Airport in February. The airports group has no corporate level debt and no material debt maturities at its airports until September 2011. The group has A$500 million cash in hand, not counting the forthcoming revenue from its stake in JAP.  

Its global portfolio includes an 8.7 percent strategic investment in Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste in Mexico, plus a 35.5 percent stake in Bristol airport in the UK, plus stakes in airports in Copenhagen, and Brussels. 

Macquarie Airports listed on Australia’s stock exchange in December.