Auckland Council partial sale of Auckland Airport shares brings in $833m

9:49 am on 1 September 2023
Auckland Airport international terminal

Auckland Airport Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Auckland Council has sold 7 percent of shares in Auckland Airport, chief executive Phil Wilson says.

The partial selldown for an average of $8.11 per share brought in $833 million in total.

The sale represented a third of the council's shareholding. It retains an 11.08 percent stake in the airport.

The council said the money would be used to reduce council debt.

Wilson said it was a positive outcome for the council and for the residents and ratepayers of Tāmaki Makaurau.

"The result is a significant return that will offset our existing debt profile and lower future interest costs."

It was the only share sale of its size in New Zealand to be sold at a premium to the market traded price, he said.

The council voted in June to sell the 7 percent stake, after earlier proposals from Mayor Wayne Brown for the sale of the entire 18 percent stake, and then 8 percent, failed to get support. Brown's compromise proposal was passed 14 votes to six, with one abstention.

Group chief financial officer Peter Gudsell the council, with professional advice, put in place a structured process to manage the sale "which balanced the council's objectives of maximising the sale value with an appropriate timeframe".

"We also monitored market conditions, including the timing of company, Commerce Commission and macro-economic information releases."

Selling the shares after the release of the airport's latest annual results on 24 August allowed for a fully informed market and ensured they were engaging with the broadest pool of potential buyers. he said.

"We have been advised that the shares were widely distributed to domestic and international wholesale investors and New Zealand retail investors via the broker network."

The sale price of $833m price was net of any fees, which were at the "low end of responses received from brokers", the council's statement said.