The Malta Independent 26 October 2016, Wednesday

SNC-Lavalin selling its Malta International Airport stake for €63 million

David Lindsay Tuesday, 2 February 2016, 09:58 Last update: about 10 months ago

The SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has announced it is selling its stake in Malta International Airport for €63 million to Vienna International Airport, which will, in turn, become a 48% shareholder in MIA.

In a statement issued yesterday, the SNC-Lavalin Group said it has reached an agreement to sell its indirect ownership interest in SNC-Lavalin (Malta) Limited to an affiliate of Flughafen Wien AG (Vienna International Airport) for cash a consideration of approximately €63 million – equivalent to €3 per share.

The deal is pending the satisfaction of certain closing conditions by both parties and subject to working capital adjustments, which is expected to take place in the first half of this year, the Group said in a statement.

SNCL Malta holds a 38.75% interest in Malta Mediterranean Link Consortium Limited which in turn has a 40% interest in Malta International Airport plc.

MMLC was formed in 2001 for the exclusive purpose of bidding on the Malta Airport privatisation project initiated by the government of Malta. MMLC was, ultimately, successful in winning the bid. As a result, SNC-Lavalin holds an indirect 15.5% interest in MIA, which manages the airport facility under a 65-year concession agreement.

“Throughout the life cycle of this transportation infrastructure project, as one of the consortium's founding partners, SNC-Lavalin has played an active part in helping develop the airport into a world-class facility,” said Neil Bruce, President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin. “The sale of our interest in the Malta International Airport is consistent with our corporate strategy and our expectations. We plan to leverage this valuable experience and redeploy it into future global engineering and construction opportunities.”

The Group said that the agreement by SNC-Lavalin to sell its indirect ownership interest in SNCL Malta is in line with the company's strategic plan to target sustained growth in key markets and monetize some of its mature infrastructure concession investments.

“As one of the original strategic investors that has operated Malta International Airport for over 13 years, SNC-Lavalin is proud of its steadfast involvement in making it a successful venture for the Government of Malta and its people, and investment for our partners,” said Chantal Sorel , Managing Director, SNC-Lavalin Capital. “We have seen the whole operation grow by leaps and bounds, and feel now is the opportune moment to exit our investment in, what has become, a mature operation.”

In a statement this morning, the Malta Stock-Exchange listed MIA confirmed the deal, adding that since VIE Malta Limited holds an additional 10.1% equity stake directly in the company, the total consolidated holding of Flughafen Wien AG in the company, directly and indirectly, will be in excess of 48% of the total issued share capital following the purchase from SNC-Lavalin.

Since the privatisation of Malta Airport in 2002 Flughafen Wien AG has held a 57.1% stake in MMLC via its subsidiary VIE (Malta) Limited. Flughafen Wien AG also provides operating management for Malta Airport and directly holds a further 10.1% of the shares in Malta Airport through VIE (Malta) Limited. Before the transaction Flughafen Wien AG's total direct and indirect holding in Malta Airport equalled in 32.94%.

By acquiring SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.’s indirect stake in MMLC, Flughafen Wien AG will increase its total indirect holding in Malta Airport by a further 15.5%. As such, Flughafen Wien AG's total consolidated holding in Malta Airport will reach more than 48%.

VIE said that the precise structure of Flughafen Wien AG holdings in Malta International Airport will be disclosed upon the deal’s closing.

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