North Queensland Airports taps lenders for A$529 million

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North Queensland Airports Group (NQA), which operates the Cairns and Mackay airports, has secured a A$529 million ($568 million) debt package from a syndicate of banks.

"NQA reached financial close on Monday 11 July on a $529 million debt package to refinance the various acquisition facilities that were put in place at the time of the privatisation of Cairns and Mackay airports in December 2008," said NQA. "The facilities will also fund ongoing capital expenditure for the next five years and provide working capital."

The group of banks involved in the refinancing project includes Westpac Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

"We are very pleased to have completed this milestone financing following what we viewed as a significant enhancement to the credit risk profile of the group," said the company's chief financial officer (CFO) John Andrejic. "At acquisition, the A$200 million domestic terminal redevelopment for Cairns airport was only partially complete. The successful completion of this project ahead of time and under budget enabled us to finalise negotiations for the new passenger charge regime with the airlines,"

NQA is owned by JP Morgan's Infrastructure Investments Fund, Hastings Funds Management-managed The Infrastructure Fund, Auckland International Airport and the Perron group.

"The completion of the refinancing by December 2011 was one of the milestones Auckland airport had set for the investment when we acquired our stake last year. We are very pleased that has already been achieved," said Auckland airport CFO Simon Robertson.