QIC and Dutch-based airport operator Royal Schiphol Group have acquired a 70% equity interest in Hobart International Airport.
The partners purchased a 51% stake in the major passenger airport in Tasmania from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) and a 19.9% stake from Tasplan Super, Tasmania’s multi-industry superannuation fund. Tasplan retains a 30% stake.
Tasplan Super and MIRA, on behalf of its investors, acquired stakes in the airport in 2007. Since then, more than A$150m has been invested in the airport to better connect Tasmania’s economy with mainland Australia and the world.
Ross Israel, head of global infrastructure, QIC, said the airport would bring further diversification benefits to the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund.
He told IPE Real Assets that the price of the transaction was not being disclosed, but he indicated that media reports of a price based on around 25 times earnings “would be accurate”.
Hobart Airport recorded A$48m lion in revenue and A$33m in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the 2018 financial year.
Dick Benschop, CEO of the Royal Schiphol Group, said acquisition of one of Australia’s fastest-growing airports fitted well with the group’s international strategy and ambitions.
Trent Carmichael, QIC Global Infrastructure partner, told IPE Real Assets the key attraction of the airport was its growth potential. It is one of Australia’s -fastest-growing airports, registering more than 10% annual growth in international visitor numbers in the last five years.
The new owners intended to develop the airport to capture growth in the number of international tourists. A priority would be to work with authorities to expand airport facilities and attract more direct flights from overseas to Hobart, Carmichael said.
In Australia, both QIC and Schiphol have a stake, alongside other investors, in Brisbane Airport.