Friday January 11, 2013
MAHB-YTL may be in talks to form consortium for RM4.8bil bid for Stansted Airport
By B.K. SIDHU and NG BEI SHAN
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is believed to be in preliminary talks with YTL Corp Bhd to set up a consortium to bid for the £1bil (RM4.85bil) London third hub known as Stansted Airport.
“MAHB is an airport operator and it needs a construction company to partner it for the bid. This is the same thing that MAHB did for its other airport projects in Hyderabad and New Dehli. Its partner in India is construction group GMR,” said a source.
A newswire report, quoting sources, said that MAHB would likely take the airport management and operation role, while YTL would take up the role of developer in and around the airport area.
MAHB's share price rose to an intraday high of RM5.73 yesterday, 1.42% higher than its opening price of RM5.65, and was last done at RM5.64.
There were 4.36 million shares changing hands on news that the airport operator would jointly bid for the UK airport with YTL.
Maybank Investment Bank research head Wong Chew Hann, who has a “buy” call and target price of RM6.90 on MAHB shares, said it was unlikely that the airport operator would take up an “asset ownership” role in the deal, leaving YTL as the major shareholder.
She said: “We are of the view that MAHB is unable to acquire the Stansted Airport on its own due to its balance sheet constraints, as the reported £1bil bid price equates to 70% of its current market capitalisation.
“Furthermore, Stansted Airport's operating margin of 19.7% in 2011 was significantly lower than MAHB's 25% levels, and therefore, could dilute earnings.”
Wong added that if MAHB steps into the airport manager role as reported, it would earn “secured” fees, albeit a small impact on its bottomline.
MAHB's running for Stansted Airport first came to light last November.
Meanwhile, RAM Ratings has reaffirmed the respective long- and short-term ratings of AAA and P1 for its wholly owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports Capital Bhd's sukuk issuance.
The rating agency said the RM3.1bil Islamic medium-term notes programme (2010/2025) and RM1bil Islamic commercial papers programme (2010/2017) had a combined limit of RM3.1bil in nominal value.
The long-term rating had a stable outlook.
MAHB has also paved its way into the airport hotel sector by launching a new hotel brand, Sama-Sama, at the KL International Airport hotel yesterday.