Sydney Airport receives $16.7 billion buyout bid from consortium By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Passengers walk with their luggage towards departure gates at Sydney International Airport in Australia, October 25, 2017. Picture taken October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Steven Saphore

(Reuters) -Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd said on Monday a consortium of infrastructure investors had proposed a A$22.26 billion ($16.7 billion) cash buyout of the operator of Australia’s biggest airport.

A consortium comprised of IFM Investors, pension fund QSuper and Global Infrastructure Management offered A$8.25 a share, a 42% premium to Sydney Airport’s closing price on Friday, the airport operator said.

Sydney Airport noted that the offer is below its pre-pandemic share price and said it was reviewing the proposal.

The airport operator’s share price hit a record high of A$8.86 in January last year, before the pandemic led to a collapse in travel demand.

The company is Australia’s only listed airport operator, with the remainder of the country’s major airports owned by consortiums of infrastructure investors.

In May, Sydney Airport’s international traffic was down more than 93% from levels in the same month of 2019 due to Australia’s largely closed border, while domestic traffic was down 39.2%.

IFM, QSuper and Global Infrastructure did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Their offer is contingent on UniSuper, which holds a 15% stake, agreeing to reinvest its equity interest for an equivalent equity holding in the consortium’s vehicle, Sydney Airport said.

UniSuper did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Sydney Airport said it had hired Barrenjoey and UBS as financial advisers.

Shares in New Zealand’s Auckland International Airport Ltd, the only other listed airport operator in Australasia, were trading nearly 6% higher at 2340 GMT on Sunday.

($1 = 1.3294 Australian dollars)

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