BAA sells Edinburgh Airport to US fund for Apound807 million

Spanish-owned airports operator BAA agreed Monday to sell Edinburgh Airport to US investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners, which already runs Gatwick and London City hubs.

"BAA today announces that it has agreed to sell its 100-percent interest in Edinburgh Airport Limited to Global Infrastructure Partners for £807.2 million ($1.3 billion, 990 million euros)," the group announced in a statement. The sale is expected to close by the end of May.

The Competition Commission (CC) had ordered BAA in 2009 to sell London Gatwick and Stansted airports, plus either Edinburgh or Glasgow. It subsequently sold Gatwick to GIP for £1.5 billion.

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However, BAA, which is controlled by Spanish transport infrastructure giant Ferrovial, managed to keep hold of London Heathrow airport -- which is Europe's biggest in terms of passengers handled. BAA also owns Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports, as well as Stansted.

"Edinburgh Airport and its team have been part of BAA for a long time and we are proud of its achievements," said BAA chief executive Colin Matthews in Monday's statement.

"We wish the new owners every success and are confident the airport will continue to flourish. BAA will continue to focus on improving passengers' journeys at Heathrow and its other airports."

The Competition Commission added in a separate statement that it had approved the Edinburgh sale after reviewing all potential buyers.

"We're pleased to approve the sale of Edinburgh Airport to GIP and to enable the swift conclusion of this divestiture process," said Laura Carstensen, chairman of the BAA Remedies Implementation Group and a member of the original inquiry group.

"GIP's track record is very strong and we anticipate that customers at Edinburgh Airport will soon see the benefits of new management approaches and that Scottish passengers and airlines more generally will also gain from the introduction of a more competitive environment.

"We hope to be in a position to proceed with the sale of Stansted before too long."

Back in February, BAA lost its appeal against a CC ruling to sell London Stansted. BAA, which argues that the judgement was flawed, is still waiting to hear whether the Court of Appeal has granted it leave to appeal.

by Abdel Hamid Zebari © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Apr 23, 2012