JP Morgan-Westpac consortium pick up Cairns Airport for AUD530 million


A consortium including JP Morgan Asset Management, Westpac Banking Corporation, The Private Capital Group’s The Infrastructure Fund (managed by Hastings) and Perron Investments has acquired a 99-year lease to operate Cairns Airport from the Queensland State Government for AUD530 million (USD359 million). Queensland Airports Ltd will be specialist adviser.

The sale price has come in below previous market expectations of AUD600-800 million, due to a more challenging outlook. Funds raised will be used to redevelop Cairns Base Hospital next year.

Tourism Minister, Desley Boyle, stated the successful consortium “will wish to expand [the] business, that means the tourism industry instead of sitting around with a big question mark can get on with working with the new owner to attract more airlines, more flights into Cairns”.

The sales programme, involving Cairns, Mackay and 12.4% of Brisbane Airport, was handled by Lazard Carnegie Wylie and legal firm Minters. It raised AUD1.03 billion in total.

Cairns Airport was sold at a forward EBITDA multiple of just over 15 times. Mackay Airport sold last month for AUD208.8 million to a consortium comprising most of the members of the Cairns purchase.

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