Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gatwick Airport Sale Close

Image of UK Airport

Sources familiar with the issue of airport operating group BAA’s proposed sale of three of its sites in the UK have connected the purchase of one of these – London Gatwick Airport – to a company called Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) – London City Airport’s owners. According to these sources – a sale is imminent and the price will be in the region of £1.4bn.

The non-public nature of these talks means that Airport International has been unable to ascertain the identities of those responsible for providing this information.

Gatwick Airport Sale

The emergence of news concerning this possible Gatwick Airport sale on October 19th 2009 coincided with the beginning of discussions on the BAA airport sales as a whole. A tribunal is currently listening to evidence backing up calls for the group to have less of a presence within the UK airport industry.

In August 2008, the Competition Commission recommended that BAA sell London Gatwick off, alongside two additional sites - highlighting what it saw as a barrier to industry competition all the time that it still owned them. More recently, it reinforced its call for a triple UK airport sale involving London Gatwick and London Stansted, along with a choice of either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports, in order to free up more of the market.

Sale of Gatwick Airport

“We are appealing the Competition Commission’s entire report, but we are moving ahead with the sale of Gatwick [airport]”, BAA representative Malcolm Robertson stated, adding, by way of clarification: “we are working to no specific deadline, and no transaction has been agreed with any party.”

BAA itself is owned by Spanish organisation Ferrovial, which purchased it three years ago at a cost of £10.1bn.

According to those close to the Gatwick sale talks, GIP would draw on approximately ten different banks for the finances that would enable it to purchase the hub. These are set to include Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase.

Airport International will provide further coverage of BAA’s UK airport sales in line with the emergence of future facts.

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