QIC and Dutch airport operator Royal Schiphol Group have bought a 70 per cent stake in the much sought after Hobart International Airport.

The consortium won after a competitive auction process, which included UniSuper, Cbus and Hostplus, buying a 50.1 per cent from Macquarie Group and 19.9 per cent from Tasplan Super, which has retained a 30 per cent holding. They paid about $600 million, according to news reports.

Macquarie said that more than $150 million had been invested in the airport since they and Tasplan first acquired stakes in 2007. Since then, total passenger numbers have increased by more than 50 per cent to 2.7 million in 2019, making it one of Australia’s fastest growing airports, it said.

QIC, which oversees some $85.7 billion in funds, said the airport was was a “critical infrastructure asset” with an attractive long-term lease and growth profile and provided further diversification in their portfolio.

“As a majority stake in an Australian capital city airport with a long-term lease, it is a rare opportunity,” said head of global infrastructure Ross Israel. “It aligns with QIC’s strategy of leveraging our active asset management capabilities to build long-term value and deliver outcomes for our investors.”

QIC has previously teamed up with Royal Schiphol to invest in Brisbane Airport, where the Queensland fund owns a 25 per cent stake. They also have a holding in Brussels Airport. The Dutch firm said that it intends to be an active partner in the development of Hobart airport.

Tasplan chief executive Wayne Davy said they would remain a committed long-term investor.

“Having been part of the Hobart Airport story for the past 12 years, this presented a good opportunity for us to realise some of the investment on behalf of our members, while retaining a meaningful stake in this important asset for the people of Tasmania,” Davy said.

HIA was privatised in 1998 by the Commonwealth Government under a 99-year lease and has 78 years remaining.

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