GIP and 3i frontrunners to buy Edinburgh Airport

Global Infrastructure Partners (which owns Gatwick and London City  Airport), 3i and a consortium backed by US private equity giant Carlyle Group are due to take an early lead in the race for Edinburgh Airport as the deadline for first-round bids expires this week.  The airport is valued at £400m-£600m, and JP Morgan is also interested. Stagecoach boss Sir Brian Souter has ruled himself out of bidding in the first round, though may get involved later through his Souter Investments vehicle.   Arcus Infrastructure Partners, owner of Forth Ports in Edinburgh, was named as another potential buyer but is also believed to have decided against. Bidders say the asset is attractive as it has been underdeveloped by BAA. 


 

Global Infrastructure Partners, 3i and a consortium backed by US private equity giant Carlyle Group are due to take an early lead in the race for Edinburgh Airport as the deadline for first-round bids expires this week.

By Nathalie Thomas

11 Feb 2012 (Telegraph )

The asset, valued at £400m-£600m, has also attracted the interest of JP Morgan, which is understood to have sent representatives from its infrastructure fund to the Scottish capital last month to sound out potential partners.

Stagecoach boss Sir Brian Souter has ruled himself out of bidding in the first round, although he has left the door open to involvement at a later stage through his Souter Investments vehicle.

A spokesman for Sir Brian said: “We have had discussions with a number of potential bidders regarding Edinburgh Airport over the last few months but have decided not to join a consortium at this point. We would be interested to engage with short-listed bidders at the next stage in the process should the opportunity arise.”

Arcus Infrastructure Partners, owner of Forth Ports in Edinburgh, was named as another potential buyer but is also believed to have decided against an approach.

Sources close to the deal say London City and Gatwick airports owner, Global Infrastructure Partners, and 3i, which is working with the Universities Superannuation Scheme and fund manager M&G, are among the most serious bidders, along with a consortium led by merchant bank Noble Grossart and backed by Carlyle.

Edinburgh investment banker Ben Thomson, chairman of Inverleith Capital, was working with a former managing director of the airport, Richard Jeffrey, on an approach although it is not yet clear how they would fund the venture.

BAA was forced to put the airport on the market following a Competition Commission ruling  Bidders say the asset is attractive as it has been underdeveloped by Spanish-owned BAA. One potential buyer described the airport as “shoddy” even though it had a £40m upgrade in 2010.

GIP, Carlyle and 3i declined to comment. Mr Thomson, JP Morgan and Arcus Infrastructure Partners did not return calls for comment.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/9076413/GIP-and-3i-frontrunners-to-buy-Edinburgh-Airport.html

 

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