5 Jul 2021

Sydney Airport takeover bid boosts Auckland Airport share prices

2:46 pm on 5 July 2021

Shares in Auckland International Airport have been propelled by a multi-billion dollar takeover bid for Sydney Airport.

Air New Zealand planes parked up at Auckland Airport during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Air New Zealand planes parked up at Auckland Airport during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Supplied/ Air NZ

Auckland Airport shares gained more than 6 percent on news that a consortium of infrastructure investors has offered $A22.3 billion (approx $NZ24.8b) for Sydney Airport Holdings, the operator of Australia's biggest airport.

A consortium of IFM Investors, pension fund QSuper, and Global Infrastructure Management has offered $A8.25 a share, a 42 percent premium to Sydney Airport's closing price on Friday.

Sydney Airport said the offer was below its pre-pandemic share price and said it was reviewing the proposal, which was contingent the consortium doing a detailed look at the airport company's finances and getting the backing of directors in the absence of a superior offer.

The company's business, like Auckland, has been savaged as Covid-19 closed borders, cutting the airport's international traffic by more than 93 percent and domestic travel by 39 percent.

Auckland Airport is the only other listed airport operator in Australasia, and has been rated more highly as being in better shape than its Australian rivals.

Auckland Council owns 18 percent of the airport, with the ACC and NZ Super Fund between them owning just under 3 percent, amid a cluster of overseas investment funds.

Any bid would face a significant hurdle in revamped overseas investment rules, with one criterion being whether a deal is in the national interest.

A $1.4bn partial takeover bid by a Canadian state pension fund for Auckland Airport in 2008 was effectively stymied by a change in rules by the then Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

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