Whitehelm Capital

Case Studies

Brisbane Airport


Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) is the operator and manager of Brisbane Airport in South East Queensland under the terms of a 50 year lease (plus a 49 year option to extend) acquired from the Commonwealth of Australia. BAC was established by the Commonwealth Bank and Schiphol Australia as the special purpose bid vehicle to acquire Brisbane Airport in 1997.

BAC has been a strong performer, with solid passenger growth since privatisation in 1997. In addition, Brisbane Airport has undertaken a successful property development process, further adding to its strong performance. As a result of divestment by shareholders over the years, Whitehelm has advised clients on additional investment opportunities in this asset, with a number of follow-on investments successfully completed in 2003, 2004, and 2010.


Brisbane Airport is the central business and tourism gateway to South East Queensland, operating 24 hours a day on a curfew-free basis unlike a number of other major airports in Australia. Additionally, it is strategically positioned to benefit from the strong economic growth experienced by that region of Australia.


Whitehelm took the lead role in negotiating the acquisition from the Commonwealth Bank providing our clients’ access to a tightly held asset. Since acquisition, Whitehelm has played an active role in assessing various financing and other value enhancement initiatives, primarily property development and growth related capital expenditure proposals put forward by the company.