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Sky’s the limit as Palisade wins airport operator bid

Sky’s the limit as Palisade wins airport operator bid

Airplane

The Sunshine Coast airport will soon get a new runway and additional improvements to its infrastructure as part of a new agreement with a specialist infrastructure manager.

Firms: Gilbert + Tobin (Palisade Investment Partners); King & Wood Mallesons (Sunshine Coast Council)

Deal: Palisade Investment Partners (Palisade) has won a bid to operate the Sunshine Coast Airport, as well as securing a role as commercial partner of the airport.

Value: Undisclosed

Area: Real estate, projects, banking

Key players: G+T partners Steven Mackay and Alex Danne led the team advising Palisade. Lawyers Isabelle Wong, Mirela Leko, Sachini Mandawala and Andrew Kourpanidis assisted.

Palisade general counsel Ben Malone worked closely with the G+T team at every stage of the transaction.

KWM's Rob Jackson led the team advising the airport's former operator, Sunshine Coast Council.

Deal significance: Palisade’s successful bid to operate and be a commercial partner for the Sunshine Coast Airport will include a 99-year lease of the facility. As a commercial partner associated with the development of a new runway and associated facilities, Palisade will also be involved in constructing an apron expansion and related infrastructure.

“The runway project will reduce operational constraints at the airport, facilitate new route opportunities and increase economic development of the region by providing capacity to accommodate larger, more fuel-efficient aircraft and enabling more direct flights,” a statement from G+T said.

The transaction was funded through equity commitments from Palisade’s Diversified Infrastructure Fund, together with investments from two of Palisade’s institutional clients, LGIAsuper and VicSuper.

G+T lead partner Steven Mackay said the deal involved commercial and legal complexities.

“It it is great testament to both Palisade and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council that they have been able to agree terms on which they can partner to grow this important piece of infrastructure for the Sunshine Coast region” Mr Mackay said.

“We are particularly proud of our team who brought a great mix of infrastructure, project, finance and M&A skills to make the transaction happen.”

According to G+T, Palisade’s investment in the Sunshine Coast Airport is part of a 10+ year strategy in the regional airport sector. The group also has interests in the Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek airports.

Palisade currently has more than $2.4 billion in funds under management and commitments. The specialist Australian infrastructure manager both invests and manages a portfolio of over 20 infrastructure assets.

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