Australia's 10th richest person now owns a very big slice of Cairns Airport.
Auckland International Airport (AIA) has just announced buyers for its 24.55 per cent stake in Cairns Airport owner North Queensland Airports for the very healthy sum of $370 million.
As part of its plans to expand its Auckland operation, AIA told investors it was offering its stake to Perron Investments and The Infrastructure Fund in a move that values North Queensland Airports at a staggering $1.38 billion.
According to a report in the Financial Review, that's about 20-times forecast profit based on earnings forecast estimates by Kiwi stockbroker Forsyth Barr.
Back in 2009, the State Government sold Cairns Airport for $530 million to a consortium of banks and private equity firms that included Perron Investments, the investment vehicle of rich-lister Stan Perron.
Mr Perron made his fortune in mining and property. In 2016, his net worth was estimated to be A$2.88 billion.
Auckland International Airport bought the stake in North Queensland Airports in 2010 for $132.8 million with a view to growing its international connections with Cairns and further afield into Asia.
In a statement, CEO Adrian Littlewood said the company was selling that stake to current investors to grow its New Zealand travel, trade and tourism businesses.
"We are very pleased to have reached a position that will result in a sale of our entire interest and that two existing and experienced infrastructure investors have agreed to support NQA in the next stage of its development," Mr Littlewood said.
"The sale will enable Auckland Airport to focus attention on growing its New Zealand travel, trade and tourism businesses and to recycle the proceeds into supporting the significant step up in aeronautical investment at Auckland Airport over the five years that we recently announced."
North Queensland Airports recorded $142.7 million revenue and a $46.8 million net profit after tax in the year to June 30, 2017.