MAp sells UK airport stake, adds to Copenhagen holding

Macquarie Airports is to sell its 35.5% stake in Bristol Airport in England, and acquire a further 3.9% stake in Denmark’s Copenhagen Airports. MAp CEO Kerrie Mather said that 'investors are better served deploying our resources elsewhere'. MAp is to gain a cash inflow of A$120m from the two deals.

Australian airport investor Macquarie Airports (MAp) has agreed to sell its 35.5 percent stake in Bristol Airport to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP).

Bristol Airport:
MAp is selling
its stake

MAp will sell the interest in the West Country airport, which it owns indirectly via a holding company, for £128 million (€144 million; $211 million). The Canadian pension fund, which is already a 14.5 percent shareholder in the airport, will subsequently own 50 percent of the airport following the transaction. The Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund owns the remaining 50 percent stake in Bristol Airport.

The £128 million price tag represents an historic EV/EBITDA multiple of just over 20x, and is 12.7 percent lower than MAp’s valuation of the asset in June.

MAp CEO Kerrie Mather said that as MAp’s portfolio has grown, resulting in Bristol now representing just 4 percent of its value, “we feel that our investors are better served deploying our resources elsewhere.”

MAp is also to acquire a further 3.9 percent interest in Copenhagen Airports, again from OTPP, for DKK570 million (€77 million; $112 million). The deal will bring the Australian fund’s interest in the Danish airport to 30.8 percent. MAp’s additional stake will be held directly, unlike its existing holding which is invested via a holding company structure.

This investment follows a decision earlier this week by Statens Luftfartsvæsen, the Danish Civil Aviation Administration, to approve a new long-term charging regime for Copenhagen Airport. MAp welcomed the new charging structure, which it said provides a “sound basis for the promotion of passenger growth”. 39.2 percent of Copenhagen Airports is owned by the Danish state.

The net result of the two transactions is a cash inflow of A$120 million (€71 million; $105 million) for MAp, which will bring the company’s total cash reserves to around A$900 million.

On the back of the news MAp’s shares closed at A$2.57 earlier today, up 5.4 percent.

Later this month MAp’s shareholders are set to vote on a proposal to internalise the company’s management structure. If the proposal is approved, MAp will make a A$345 million cash payment to Macquarie Capital, its external manager.