16 November 2012

South Africa: Lanseria Airport Sold

Johannesburg — Lanseria International Airport has been sold to a consortium of investors, it was announced on Thursday night.

"A group of private investors who have owned and developed the Lanseria International Airport over the past 21 years have sold 100 percent of their shares in the airport," said one of the new owners, Sandton-based Pan African infrastructure development fund manager Harith.

The other investors were a Black Economic Empowerment consortium which included the women's empowerment company Nozala; and the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), through the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

"The transaction is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approval," Harith said in a statement.

The airport's CEO Gavin Sayce said, in the statement, that its management team and philosophy would remain unchanged.

"In addition, our capital expenditure programme for the next three years has been accepted, committed to and funded by the new owners."

The airport offers general aviation and scheduled passenger services.

"This is a landmark transaction for private sector infrastructure deals in South Africa," said Harith CEO Tshepo Mahloele.

"We are very pleased to have been involved with the financing of this very important growth project and envisage that it will continue to foster regional interaction and convenience for the [Southern African Development Community] region, [the] rest of Africa, as well as the local business and tourism sectors."

Describing the airport as a successful and strategic infrastructure asset in the highly-specialised and competitive aviation sector, he said Harith would play an active role in ensuring it continued to sustain and deliver value to its customers and partners.

Harith envisaged the continued development of the airport and the entrenchment of its role as a low cost alternative to OR Tambo International Airport.

The deal gave Nozala an opportunity to invest in the country's only privately-run airport which offered a significant upside in the future, said its COO and acting CEO Rampa Rammopo.

Nozala was looking to be a significant player in the aviation and infrastructure sector and saw Lanseria as a key entry into the sector, she said.

GEPF's principal officer and investments and actuarial head John Oliphant, said the investment ensured that public servants and pensioners increased their ownership of strategic assets in the South African economy.

"The long term infrastructural development opportunities emanating from the acquisition and expansion of the airport will create jobs and facilitate the expansion of critical infrastructure in Gauteng and thus contribute to the economic transformation endeavours of the country," said PIC chief investment officer Dr Dan Matjila.

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