Government is assessing expressions of interest for Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International
Airport submitted by an undisclosed number of bidders before the 14 May
Australia’s regional airports that were sold off over the past few years, it is
thought only a handful of consortia have stepped forward to bid for Sydney
airport’s owner, Sydney Airports Corp (SACL), because its estimated value of
A$4 billion rules out many smaller groups.
Government does not usually reveal how many consortia express interest, their
composition or exactly when suitable candidates will be asked to make binding
bids when conducting tenders, says a Finance Ministry spokesman.
precise timetable has been outlined but the Government intends to wrap the
airport sale up before the year-end. The sale is unlikely to run into serious delays
as the contentious issue of charges was resolved when the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission agreed to allow a hike of 97% in
aeronautical charges against the 130% SACL originally proposed, and which many
airlines led by Qantas Airways vigourously opposed.
sale, managed by investment bank Salomon Smith Barney, is only open to trade
parties. Foreigners can only hold a minority stake and must comply with the
Foreign Acquisition and Takeovers Act 1975.
Groups owning more than 15% or having effective control of Brisbane,
Melbourne or Perth airports will be limited to a 15% stake in Sydney airport.
No airline can own more than 5% and all bidders will have to abide by the
Airports Act 1996.
regulation caused the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to withdraw as it
is owned by the Singapore Government, which is a majority shareholder in Singapore
Airlines through various investment vehicles.
airports operator BAA is known not to be bidding. Interested bidders are widely
thought to include Copenhagen Airport, German construction group Hochtief, Hong
Kong developer Chueng Kong Infrastructure Holdings and a number of Australian
wins the contest will have to manage the airport’s growing traffic and shortage
of slots well to avoid controversy. Despite government assurances, some critics
fear small domestic airlines will be forced out to Bankstown Airport, also in
the Sydney basin, which is slated for expansion.