The operator of Sydney Airport has rejected — for a second time — an acquisition attempt by a group of infrastructure investors, reiterating that the deal “undervalues” its operations and “is not in the best interests” of its shareholders.
The consortium of investors — comprising IFM Investors, Global Infrastructure Management, QSuper, as well as AustralianSuper — revised upward their proposed offer, more than a month after it first announced plans to take over Australia’s largest airport. Sydney Airport in mid-July rejected that first attempt, slamming it as “opportunistic” in light of a pandemic-led travel downturn.
Its current offer of A$8.45 ($6.18) per share brings the value of the proposed takeover to A$22.8 billion, up from July’s A$22.3 billion.
The move to reject the proposed takeover — possibly one of Australia’s largest infrastructure acquisition deals this year — comes as the country battles one of its worst spikes in coronavirus infections.
Sydney, the financial hub of the country, is the epicentre of the latest outbreak, and has been placed on indefinite lockdown since June. Several Australian states have also shut their domestic borders, in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
In rejecting the consortium’s bid, Sydney Airport says the current pandemic situation “does not change the boards’ view of the long term value.
“The boards also note the rapid increase and acceleration in Australian vaccination rates in recent weeks and the governments’ plans to progressively ease restrictions as the population reaches vaccination targets which will then see the re-opening of travel,” the operator adds.
Still, Sydney Airport has signalled its willingness to engage with the consortium, “should the consortium be prepared to lift its indicative price to appropriately recognise long term value for Sydney Airport securityholders”.