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Canadian Pension Fund to Make Auckland Airport Offer

A Canadian state pension fund said on Wednesday it will seek a significant minority stake in New Zealand's Auckland International Airport in a proposed offer that values the whole
company at as much as NZ$4.8 billion (US$3.5 billion).

Shares in Auckland Airport, New Zealand's main international gateway, rose as much as 12%after Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) said it would put a plan to the airport operator's board offering three options for shareholders.

The options would include an all cash offer of NZ$3.70 a share, with the others offering a mix of cash and shares in a new company to a value of up to NZ$3.90 a share.

"The CPP Investment Board confirms that it has formulated a framework for an amalgamation that it will discuss with AIAL at a meeting scheduled for September 20," the CPPIB said in a statement.

The airport, which handles around 70% of New Zealand's international traffic, said it expected it would take some time to consider the merits of any offer.

Two weeks ago a rival bid from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise for a stake of between 51-60 percent in the airport was scrapped amid accusations the airport company had not done enough to promote the deal.

In June, CPPIB approached a number of Auckland Airport shareholders to gauge interest for a takeover offer at NZ$3.10 a share, which was rejected as being too low.

CPPIB has previously said it would allow two local councils to maintain their combined 23% stake in the airport operator.

The CPPIB, with around $114 billion in assets, already has infrastructure investments, including a 27% stake in a Chilean transmission company and a one-third share in Britain's Anglian Water.

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