Newcastle Airport: Private firm to sell 49% stake
Copenhagen Airports is selling off its 49% stake in Newcastle Airport, but the seven local councils (LA7) which own the rest say their share is not for sale. These are Durham County, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils . Copenhagen’s Australian backers are pulling out of foreign airports and Newcastle is the last one it has a share in. They have owned part of it for 11 years. The leader of the LA7 group said “The airport is a major asset for the region, employing 3,000 people, and generating hundreds of millions of pounds for the North East every year.” The airport has started trying to refinancing it debts. It has until December 2013 to repay a £320m loan taken out in 2006. It had 4.3 million passengers in 2011 compared to 5.6 million in 2007.
[ In October 2012 it was sold to AMP Capital, a global investment manager with holdings in Melbourne and Launceston airports in Australia, Details ]
- by Karen Dent, (Evening Chronicle)
- May 30 2012
HALF of Newcastle Airport is up for sale.
Copenhagen Airports is selling off its 49% stake in it. But the seven local councils which own the rest said today their share is not for sale.
Copenhagen’s Australian backers are pulling out of foreign airports and Newcastle is the last one it has a share in.
Dave Laws, Newcastle Airport’s chief executive, said: “We have enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Copenhagen Airports over the last 11 years.
“Together, we have delivered major airline investments including easyJet, Jet2.com and Emirates, as well as significant capital developments, and of course the celebration of the airport’s 75th anniversary.
“We thank them for everything they have done. It has been excellent working with them.”
Rasmus Christiansen, from Copenhagen Airports, said: “We have very much enjoyed our successful involvement in Newcastle Airport.
“The airport has gone from strength to strength, and we have particularly appreciated the opportunity to work with the management team and our local authority partners.
“We will work with them to ensure a smooth transition, and we are confident that a future purchaser of our shares will be investing in a fantastic business.”
There had been speculation the LA7 group – Durham County, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils – would also sell its 51% share.
But Coun Iain Malcolm, South Tyneside Council and LA7 leader, said: “LA7 is committed to being the majority shareholder in Newcastle Airport.
“The airport is a major asset for the region, employing 3,000 people, and generating hundreds of millions of pounds for the North East every year.
“Each of the areas represented by the local authorities benefits directly from the involvement we have in the airport.”
The airport has also started looking at refinancing it debts. It has until December next year to repay a £320m loan taken out in 2006.
Industry expert David Bentley, from Big Pond Aviation, reckons there will be plenty of interest in Copenhagen’s stake.
“Don’t discount pension funds, infrastructure companies and even sovereign wealth funds,” he said.
“They are the sorts of people that municipalities would probably prefer, because they’ll take a laid back, hands-off approach.”
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Coun Nick Forbes, said: “Newcastle International Airport is vitally important to the region’s economy as an enabler of economic growth, and needs to be part of integrated transport plans.”
Terminal passengers at Newcastle Airport over the past 15 years
2008 5,017 (down -11% on 2007)