Macquarie, Tasplan and QIC shuffle airports

Macquarie's infrastructure arm picked up one airport, and dumped another.

In the space of only a couple of days, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets purchased the United Kingdom's only dedicated business airport, Farnborough Airport and sold its interest in Hobart International Airport to a consortium including QIC.

MIRA's Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 6 picked up Farnborough from a consortium of private investors for an undisclosed amount. The airport was the world's first dedicated business aviation airport to be granted carbon neutral status by Airports Council International, and hosts one of the aviation industry's most prestigious annual events, the Farnborough International Airshow.

MIRA head of Europe, Middle East and Africa Leigh Harrison said the firm was pleased to add the  assets to its books.

"We are delighted to announce our investment in Farnborough Airport," Harrison said.

"In addition to holding an important place in UK aviation history, the airport is known for its high-quality offering to customers. Drawing on our extensive experience managing airport infrastructure around the world, we look forward to partnering with Farnborough Airport to ensure it remains an important contributor to the local economy and a business aviation gateway to London and the South East."

MIRA describes its investments in airport infrastructure and fixed-based operator facilities as world-leading, noting the roughly 72 million passengers who use airports it manages each year, and the 12 commercial airports across Europe and Australia which MIRA-managed funds are invested in.

The Farnborough Airport acquisition comes as MIRA and Tasplan Super agree to sell 70% of their stake in Hobart International Airport to a consortium comprised of QIC and Royal Schiphol Group.

Tasplan will continue to retain a 30% stake in the airport, while selling 19.9% of the asset to the consortium. MIRA will exit the airport altogether, selling its 50.1% stake.

Grant Smith, head of MIRA infrastructure Australia said the firm was pleased its 12-year ownership had left the airport in a strong position for long-term investors to take advantage of.

"During our 12-years of ownership we have worked closely with airport management to significantly enhance this essential asset for the people of Tasmania and their visitors, supporting growth in tourism and making an important contribution to the local economy," Smith said.

"We are pleased to be leaving the airport in a strong position to serve this thriving region of Australia and to be transitioning our stake to a consortium of experienced, long-term investors."

Tasplan Super chief executive Wayne Davy added that the asset had been a good purchase for the fund on a number of fronts.

"Having been part of the Hobart Airport story for the past 12 years, this presented a good opportunity for us to realise some of the investment on behalf of our members, while retaining a meaningful stake in this important asset for the people of Tasmania," he said.

"We remain a committed, long term-investor and look forward to working with the consortium."

Read more: MIRAFarnborough AirportAustraliaEuropeQICHobart International AirportTasplan SuperTasmaniaAfrica Leigh HarrisonFarnborough International AirshowGrant SmithMacquarie European Infrastructure FundAirports Council InternationalLondonMiddle EastReal AssetsRoyal Schiphol GroupSouth EastUKUnited KingdomWayne Davy
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