Wellington Airport looks at $75m bond offer

Wellington Airport's owners want to expand the runway and build new hotels and parking. Photo Mark Mitchell
Wellington Airport's owners want to expand the runway and build new hotels and parking. Photo Mark Mitchell

Wellington International Airport, which is controlled by Infratil, is looking at selling up to $75 million of seven-year bonds, joining a growing number of companies taking advantage of record low interest rates through the debt market.

The Wellington-based company is considering an offer of up to $50 million unsecured, unsubordinated, fixed rate bonds with oversubscriptions of another $25 million, which it would sell to retail and institutional investors, it said in a statement. Full details of the offer are expected to be made next week.

ANZ Bank New Zealand, First NZ Capital, Forsyth Barr and Westpac New Zealand have been appointed joint lead managers.

The seven-year swap rate was recently at 2.75 percent, near the 2.66 percent low it reached earlier this month.

The airport has $75 million of bonds listed on the NZX paying annual interest of 6.25 percent.

The notes mature in May 2021, and last traded at a yield of 3.7 percent.

The airport is undertaking extensive upgrades, adding carparking and a hotel as well as extending its terminal and is understood to be very close to lodging a resource consent seeking permission to build a 300 metre runway extension in a bid to attract long-haul flights from Asia and the United States.

Wellington mayoral candidate, Jo Coughlan, issued a statement yesterday saying that if the city council were to invest in the $350 million extension project, its shareholding in the airport should change from the current 33 percent. WIAL's 66 percent controlling shareholder, Infratil, is plumping for central and local government funding to cover most of the capital costs, arguing the investment is in the national and regional interest while not being viable on a standalone commercial analysis.

Coughlan said she would work with central government to secure funding for projects that would "initially need more than a billion dollars", including double tunnels under Mt Victoria and at the Terrace Tunnel and cycling infrastructure.

- BusinessDesk

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