Australian bank tipped to make counter bid for TBI

Click to follow
The Independent Online

An auction for TBI, the regional airports operator on the receiving end of a £516m bid from the French construction group Vinci, seemed increasingly likely yesterday following reports that the Australian investment bank Macquarie had thrown its hat into the ring.

An auction for TBI, the regional airports operator on the receiving end of a £516m bid from the French construction group Vinci, seemed increasingly likely yesterday following reports that the Australian investment bank Macquarie had thrown its hat into the ring.

Macquarie is thought to be keen to amass a portfolio of international airports and has been examining several opportunities in Europe. It specialises in infrastructure projects, and it is valued at some £2.4bn.

The bank, in partnership with the Spanish construction business Grupo Ferrovial, snapped up Bristol International airport last year in a deal worth around £234m.

Fraport, the German group that owns Frankfurt airport, was also tipped as a contender for TBI, which owns Belfast International and Cardiff International airports as well as a majority stake in London Luton airport.

The development follows TBI's rejection of Vinci's 90p-per-share hostile bid last week. Vinci, which has a 15 per cent stake in TBI, is expected to file its offer document this week.

TBI was last week forced to retract claims that its assets were worth almost £700m, substantially more than Vinci was offering. Under Takeover Panel rules, TBI may not make either an asset valuation or a forecast. Keith Brooks, TBI's chief executive, said the group's Belfast and Cardiff airports were worth "£500m alone". Commenting on the group's overall value, he added: "After debt, we are talking £660m to £670m in an eggs-for-eggs comparison."

A spokesperson for TBI refused to comment on yesterday's speculation.

Comments