Chairman Stan Perron, Perron Group, photographed in their offices in East Perth.
Chairman Stan Perron, Perron Group, photographed in their offices in East Perth.

NQ Airports holding sold

AUCKLAND International Airport has attained its $370 million asking price for the sale of its 24.6 per cent share in North Queensland Airports.

The sale was split between existing shareholders Perron Investments, The Infrastructure Fund and IIF Cairns Mackay Investment Ltd, which increased their fractional ownership to 66 per cent, 27 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

NQA's worth has skyrocketed since the State Government sold its ownership of Cairns Airport for $530 million in 2009, selling to a consortium which included Perron Investments - owned by real estate and automobile distribution magnate Stan Perron.

The sale places the company's current value, which includes ownership of Mackay Airport, at almost $1.5 billion.

Mr Perron, 94, was Australia's 10th richest man last year with an estimated fortune of $3.9 billion according to the Financial Review.

Cairns Airport by night.
Cairns Airport by night.

American business magazine Forbes places the wealth of NQA's majority shareholder at a more modest $2.3 billion.

NQA chief executive officer Norris Carter said the sale had been a smooth transition.

"We wish Auckland Airport every success, and look forward to continuing to work with our existing shareholders to excite and delight our customers in Cairns and Mackay," he said.

Auckland International Airport chief financial officer Phil Neutze said it completed a year-long negotiation and divestment process.

"Our eight-year investment in NQA has been a very successful one," he said.

"The sale of our shareholding ensures that we can focus on growing our New Zealand travel, trade and tourism business and recycle the proceeds of the sale into supporting the significant investment in aeronautical infrastructure at Auckland Airport over the next five years."

IIF is a long-term infrastructure investor advised by global asset manager JP Morgan Asset Management.

The Infrastructure Fund has a portfolio of Australian and overseas assets worth more than $2.4 billion, with investment from superannuation funds and other institutional investors.