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QUEENSLAND AIRPORTS: 74.25% of airport owning company up for sale

QUEENSLAND AIRPORTS: 74.25% of airport owning company up for sale

The process of selling a 74.24% stake in Queensland Airports is now out of the starting blocks with Barrenjoey and Macquarie Capital for the sellers, sending out sales process letters over the weekend.

Queensland Airports Ltd (QAL) owns several Queensland secondary airports, including Gold Coast, Longreach, Mount Isa, and Townsville.

Indicative, non-binding offers are due in late July. Any offers require the substantial involvement of an Australian-based organisation, as the Airports Act specifies at least 51% Australian ownership for most local airports.


According to the AFR, QAL has been getting its internal house in order with a restructure that, after some disruptions, has been completed. It predicts that organisations like the underbidder for the Hobart Airport back in 2019, the French infrastructure behemoth Vinci, are interested. Sydney Airport shareholder GIP, in partnership with property company Dexus, and private equity firm KKR, with partners Scott Farquar and Skip Capital, are also in the running. Some other foreign buyers might also show interest.

a close up of a fan shaped leaf in Queensland
Palm canopy in the Daintree rainforest [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

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Queensland Airports has been touting its post-COVID-19 recovery and Queensland’s growing population. The company has increased its revenues by about 22 million, from AU$118 million last year to AU$140 million in 2024.

Airports seem to be targets for private capital, with most major airports, notably Sydney and Melbourne, now in private hands. Bidders who fail to get a stake in Queensland Airports may look elsewhere. Maybe North Queensland Airport, the owner of Cairns and Mackay airports, is also in largely private hands. It’s also unencumbered by the majority Australian ownership provision.

All the QAL airports could do with some improvements. The new owners will need to weigh up the the cost of improvements against the potential increase in traffic and revenue. Townsville Airport would have been directly affected by Bonza Airlines going into administration.

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