Ferrovial put Belfast City airport on the block
4.5.2008 (Sunday Times)
Ferrovial, the owner of airports operator BAA, is preparing to sell Belfast City
The Spanish construction company is understood to have appointed KPMG to run
an auction of the airport, named after Northern Irish football star George Best
and valued at about £100m.
The process will kick off in the coming weeks and is expected to attract interest
from a wide range of investors, including the infrastructure arms of Prudential
and JP Morgan, as well as private-equity groups Bridgepoint, HG Capital, 3i and
Galaxy, the French fund that specialises in infrastructure projects. Bridgepoint
is the currentowner of Leeds Bradford airport, while HG Capital is the former
owner of Belfast International airport.
Interest is also tipped to come from the construction firm Balfour Beatty, and
Global Infrastructure Partners, a joint venture between GE Infrastructure and
Credit Suisse, which bought London’s City airport in 2006.
Ferrovial’s move comes amid growing expectation that it will be forced to sell
one or more of BAA’s airports by the Competition Commission. Last month’s interim
report by the regulator said Ferrovial’s ownership of seven airports in the southeast
of England and Scotland reduced competition.