Infratil acquires Stagecoach for $250m

Infratil said today after the market closed that its conditional agreement to purchase Stagecoach NZ. has gone forward and is now unconditional.

The company said it will spend $250.5 million on the acquisition, with completion scheduled for 29 November.

With major global investments in energy and airports, infrastructure and utility assets investor Infratil [NZX:IFT] has been prowling its own Kiwi backyard recently.

Stagecoach NZ operates urban bus passenger services in Auckland and Wellington as well as owning Fullers ferries in Auckland.

In Wellington, Stagecoach has approximately 365 buses and provides most of the urban passenger services. In Auckland it has approximately 658 buses and provides services throughout Auckland alongside other providers of bus, rail and ferry public transport. It owns 8 ferries.

In May, Infratil reported a profit of $22.5 million, excluding investment realisations.

The company's offshore investments have attracted substantial media coverage lately, but two NZ companies in which it holds substantial shareholdings contributed substantially to this year's results.

NBR reported in May [20 May 2005] that Trustpower, of which Infratil owns 35.2 per cent, finished the financial year with a net surplus after tax of $73.15 million, and Wellington International Airport, of which it owns 66 per cent, increased earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by 14.4 per cent to $44.3 million.

In October, Infratil finally cleared the ground clutter away from a potentially big -- and expensive -- deal for Germany's Luebeck Airport.

In September, Infratil said it would take an 11 per cent stakeholding for $US6.14 million ($9 million NZD), in Austral Pacific Energy Limited> [NZSX:APX], an "upstream" drilling and exploration company that operates in under-explored, frontier areas, as well as in proven producing basins such as Taranaki in New Zealand, and the Papuan Basin in PNG.

Stagecoach NZ is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Group plc, a leading international transportation group with other operations in the UK, the USA, and Canada.

Stagecoach NZ employs about 1,800 people.

The Stagecoach group businesses operate around 16,000 vehicles and rolling stock and employ around 30,000 people across the globe.

The company was founded in Perth, Scotland. In 1980, by bother and sister entrepreneurs Brian Souter and Anne Gloag who started up with only two buses.

Stagecoach's first investment in the New Zealand transport market was the purchase of Wellington City Transport Limited from Wellington City Council in 1992.

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Please would you let me have particulars relating to the transfer of assets in the sale of Manston Airport to Anne Gloag of Stagecoach for the sum of £1.00. Is it to do with the fact that Infratil owns Stagecoach NZ, which it bought from Anne Gloag in 2005? Was the nominal price of the purchase of Manston Airport offset by the cost of Infratil's purchase/ownership of $250 million payment for Stagecoach operating in New Zealand. Is Stagecoach UK a holding company of Stagecoach NZ? I would greatly appreciate information to help me understand why Infratil would sell an airport, equivalent in value to that of Gisborne airport in NZ, which is worth plus/minus £6 million. Many thanks, T.J. Iggulden Stevens.

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