Auckland International Airport will sell its quarter-stake in the Cairns and Mackay airports in North Queensland to its fellow investors for $A370 million, almost three times what it paid eight years ago.
The airport operator this month said it was considering sell the holding and on Tuesday said it would offer its 25 per cent stake in North Queensland Airports to the Australian transport hub’s existing investors.
All NQA investors are entitled to maintain their current holdings and Perron Investments and The Infrastructure Fund have already agreed to accept the entire offer.
“The sale will enable Auckland Airport to focus attention on growing its New Zealand travel, trade and tourism businesses and to recycle the proceeds into supporting the significant step up in aeronautical investment at Auckland Airport,” chief executive Adrian Littlewood said in a statement.
The Kiwi company bought the stake in Australian airports in 2010 for $A132.8m in an effort to expand outside its core Auckland business to develop connections with Cairns and build routes into Asia.
The asset sale comes as Auckland Airport prepares for a $1.8 billion infrastructure spend, introducing new contact gates for international aircraft, a new domestic jet terminal, expanded border processing and public arrivals spaces and upgraded international check-in areas.
The proposed price hikes to pay for the capital spend will come under the scrutiny of the Commerce Commission in its semi-regular investigation of how airports set their prices under an information disclosure regime to discourage airport monopolies from price gouging. A draft report is expected in March.