BUSINESS
07/19/2011 08:49 EDT | Updated 09/18/2011 05:12 EDT

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan To Swap Share In Australia Airport For Stakes In Brussels, Copenhagen

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- TORONTO - The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has a definitive deal to swap its 11 per cent interest in Sydney's airport in Australia plus about C$807 million cash for interests in the airports at Brussels and Copenhagen.

The exchange of assets is with MAp Airports (ASX:MAP), a publicly traded Australian company that is the Sydney airport's majority owner. MAp said it will receive A$791 million cash as part of the deal.

The Teachers pension plan, one of Canada's largest institutional investor, will receive MAp's 39 per cent interest in the Brussels airport in Belgium and 30 per cent of the Copenhagen airport in Denmark.

Teachers also has investments in the Birmingham and Bristol airports in England.

"We believe that Brussels and Copenhagen airports are excellent opportunities that strongly reflect our investment criteria and our long-term investment horizon," said Stephen Dowd, senior vice-president of Teachers' Infrastructure Group.

For its part, MAp said its investors will benefit from owning an increased interest in Sydney airport, which will be the company's sole focus.

"Investors will benefit from the airport's predictable, resilient and growing earnings," said Kerrie Mather, MAp's chief executive officer, in a statement.

She said MAp has delivered a total return of 14.2 per cent per annum since its inception in April 2002, but its recent stock prices hasn't reflected the value of the company's airport business.

"The directors and management believe that the security price will more closely reflect MAp's underlying value through MAp entering a new phase focused on a single airport. This should facilitate a clearer appreciation of Sydney Airport's underlying earnings profile and significant growth potential," Mather said.