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Dispute stalls sale of Macquarie's Brussels Airport stake: sources
September 11, 2017 / 4:46 PM / a month ago

Dispute stalls sale of Macquarie's Brussels Airport stake: sources

LONDON (Reuters) - The sale of Australian infrastructure fund Macquarie’s 36 percent stake in Brussels airport has stalled due to a dispute with fellow shareholder Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Macquarie has backed Belgium’s main hub for more than 10 years and hired JPMorgan (JPM.N) in February to put its stake on the block.

But the sale has since been delayed by a dispute with co-owner Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) on how much information can be shared with other prospective bidders under a non-disclosure agreement, the sources said.

OTTP bought 39 percent of Brussels Airport in 2011 and has pre-emptive rights on Macquarie’s stake. It wants Macquarie to provide limited information to prospective bidders, the sources said, as this may give a competitive advantage to those taking part in the initial stages of the process.

But bidders typically require detailed information to perform due diligence on a company and decide whether to bid.

This means Macquarie will be unable to run a competitive sales process, the sources said, adding the dispute has been going on for several months and no agreement is on the horizon.

Macquarie, whose fund led the acquisition of 70 percent of the airport in 2004 for 735 million euros ($881 million), declined to comment while OTPP did not respond to requests for comment.

In August, Brussels Airport had nearly 2.5 million passengers, a rise of 7.6 percent compared with the same month in 2016. It serves as a hub for Brussels Airlines, which is being taken over by Lufthansa (LHAG.DE).

Macquarie wants to cash out as the fund in which it holds part of its stake has matured. Brussels airport is the last remaining asset of the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund (MEIF) I, while the remainder of the stake is held in its MEIF III, which was closed to new investors in 2010.

Macquarie is also looking to sell its interest in Copenhagen airport, after launching a strategic review of the asset in which Ontario Teachers is also a shareholder, the sources said.

Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; editing by Susan Thoma

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