Paris-based Vinci Airports is competing with Australian super industry bidders for a stake in Hobart Airport, a major passenger airport in Tasmania.
The 50.1% stake on offer is currently held by a fund controlled by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) and is said to be valued at A$500m (€308m).
If Vinci succeeds in outbidding some of Australia’s investors, including infrastructure manager QIC and large industry super funds like Unisuper, Hesta and Cbus, the asset will become the French airport operator’s first investment in Australia.
Final bids for the airport are due by the end of this month.
Vinci, a construction and infrastructure entity currently operating 46 airports worldwide, said it was attracted to the growth of international tourism into Australia’s southern island state.
Benoit Trochu, Vinci Airports’ head of business development, told Australian media his group had a mandate to grow in Asia and Australia.
It had bought three airports in Japan in 2017, in joint venture with the Japanese group Orix.
Trochu said his group had seen that Hobart was at a turning point in terms of tourism, and Vinci would invest to grow traffic by opening international routes to Hobart.
Although growth had slowed in Australia’s largest airports of Sydney and Melbourne, Hobart Airport claimed the title as Australia’s fastest-growing airport facility, with passenger numbers rising 5% in the year to June 2019.
MIRA’s Global Infrastructure Fund III purchased its Hobart Airport stake in 2007. The remaining 49.9% interest is held by Tasplan, Tasmania’s A$9.5bn super fund. MIRA and Tasplan jointly purchased the airport for A$350m.