Exclusive: Porter nearing sale of Toronto airport terminal - sources

Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:16pm EST
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By Jeffrey Hodgson and Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - The parent of Canada's Porter Airlines is nearing the sale of a passenger terminal it operates at Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport, according to three sources familiar with the process.

The sources, who asked not to be named as they are not authorized to publicly comment on the matter, said a bidding process for the asset on the island airport is underway.

One of the sources familiar with the process said at least two separate bids are expected this week from pension fund manager Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo) and Macquarie Group Ltd (MQG.AX: Quote). The source did not specify whether Macquarie would be bidding directly, or through one of the funds it manages.

Porter Aviation Holdings Inc, the parent of upstart carrier, said in August it was considering selling and then leasing back the passenger terminal to focus on its core airline business.

AIMCo and Macquarie declined to comment. Porter could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, earlier this year reported that a sale could bring in more than $500 million.

The second source said AIMCo is bidding for the asset in partnership with an infrastructure development focused firm.

The second source also said a key consideration for buyers is the prospect for Porter's long-term success, including a controversial plan to get jets flying out of the hub.   Continued...

A Porter Airlines Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft is seen in Toronto February 23, 2009.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch