Bristol Airport completes £279m refinancing

A five-strong banking group has replaced previous financing which was put in place in 2005. The UK's Bristol Airport is owned by Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

Bristol Airport, which is owned by Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund and Canada’s Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP), has been refinanced to the tune of £279 million (€343 million; $448 million).

A banking group comprising Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Agricole CIB, HSH Nordbank, RBS and Export Development Canada were responsible for new debt facilities comprising a £241 million term loan, a £33 million capex facility and a £5 million revolving credit facility. All these are in place for a five-year period.  

The new finance, which also included an unspecified equity injection from shareholders, replaces previous financing which was put in place in 2005.

Andy Gallagher, a London-based infrastructure finance partner at law firm Hogan Lovells, which advised the lenders, said the refinancing was a “successful example of an increasing number of refinancings of pre-credit crunch debt packages by infrastructure assets and owners as part of the so-called ‘refinancing wall’”.

Clifford Chance acted as legal adviser to Bristol Airport on the transaction and Rothschild provided financial advice.

Bristol Airport was jointly acquired by Macquarie and Cintra, the Ferrovial subsidiary, in a £198 million deal in 2001. Macquarie subsequently bought Cintra’s 50 percent stake for €158 million in 2006.

Then, in September 2009, Macquarie Airports (MAp) sold a 35.5 percent stake to OTPP, which took the latter’s total shareholding in the asset to 49 percent. Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund holds a 50 percent share and Sydney Airport 1 percent.

In 2011, Bristol Airport was the ninth-busiest airport in the UK, handling almost 5.8 million passengers.