Sydney Airport sale a step closer after improved $17.4b offer

September 14, 2021 Business
A sale of Australia's greatest airport moved nearer on Monday as an infrastructure investor group gained permission to conduct due diligence on Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd, after sweetening its takeover provide to A$23.6 billion ($17.four billion).

The transfer despatched the airport's shares up 5 per cent, with analysts saying a rival bid appeared unlikely given the dimensions of the funding wanted and overseas possession guidelines that imply the airport should stay 51 per cent Australian owned.

"We assign an excessive likelihood of a deal succeeding given the board's dedication to unanimously advocate the (present) provide if there isn't any various larger provide," Credit score Suisse analysts mentioned in an observe.

Sydney Airport is Australia's solely listed airport operator and a purchase order can be a long-term wager on the journey sector which has been battered by the pandemic.

A profitable takeover can be among the many largest buyouts ever of an Australian agency and underline a year of stellar deal exercise, that has already seen a mega $29 billion buyout of Afterpay by Suisse analysts.

The improved provide of A$8.75 a share – a rise of three.6 per cent – follows prior proposals from the consortium pitched at A$8.45 and A$8.25, each of which had been rejected by the airport operator's board as insufficient.

Sydney Airport shares had been buying and selling at A$8.40 on Monday morning, beneath the provide worth, as a result of size of the time the transaction will take to finish in addition to the restricted prospects for a rival bid.

"Another bidder seems extremely unlikely," Jefferies analyst Anthony Moulder mentioned in an observe to purchasers.

The bidding consortium, Sydney Aviation Alliance (SAA), is comprised of Australian buyers IFM Traders, QSuper and AustralianSuper and US-based International Infrastructure Companions. Report-low rates of interest have prompted pension funds and their funding managers to chase larger yields. Australia's different main airports are unlisted and owned by pension funds and infrastructure buyers.

SAA has been granted non-exclusive due diligence that's anticipated to take 4 weeks after signing a non-disclosure settlement, Sydney Airport mentioned.

If SAA makes a suitable binding proposal, the present intention is for the board to advocate it within the absence of a superior provide, the airport operator added.

UniSuper, Sydney Airport's greatest shareholder with a 15.3 per cent stake, has indicated it's open to rolling that fairness into a funding within the privatized firm, as required as a part of the bid circumstances.

The deal would require an impartial professional's report, approval from 75 per cent of shareholders and an inexperienced mild from the competitors' regulator and the International Funding Evaluation Board, in a course of that usually takes months to finish.

An SAA spokesperson mentioned the consortium welcomed the announcement and seemed ahead to working with Sydney Airport's board to finalize the transaction