Dubai Aerospace abandons its bid for Auckland Airport

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) officially announced on Thursday 6 September that it had abandoned its controversial bid to take a majority stake in New Zealand's aviation hub, Auckland International Airport (AIAL).

DAE and AIAL said they had terminated their merger agreement. Under the NZ$2.6 billion ($1.78 billion) deal, DAE would have taken a stake of between 51 and 60 per cent of the airport company.

"In light of recent developments, DAE regrets that, notwithstanding the best efforts of the board of AIAL, the transaction could not proceed in the form proposed," the company's statement said. There had been widespread opposition to foreign control of the airport from the government, the public, as well as local government bodies with substantial stakes in the airport.

The airport's board had already approved the deal, but it required approval by 75 per cent of the shareholders. The Auckland and Manakau city councils, with a combined stake of around 23 per cent, opposed the deal.

But the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) said on Monday 3 September that it planned to bid for up to 49 per cent of the company. CPPIB said its offer would allow current levels of New Zealand ownership of the airport to continue.

If the city councils and the government drop their opposition to the Canadian proposal, it may appear as if their objection was not because the original bidder was 'foreign', but that it was an Arab-owned company.