BAA losses widen on Gatwick sale and falling passenger numbers

29.10.2009   (Guardian)

Airport operator took huge hit on sale of Gatwick and deficit in pension scheme

by Elena Moya 


British airport operator BAA said its pretax loss widened in the first nine months of the year after taking
a huge hit on the forced sale of Gatwick and falling passenger numbers.

BAA posted a pretax loss of £784.7m in the first nine months of the year, from
£519.5m over the same period last year.

BAA, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners
for £1.51bn, and will use its net proceeds to repay debt.   The company, which
was pushed to sell the airport by UK antitrust regulators, still controls Heathrow
and Stansted.

The pretax loss widened after a exceptional charge of £261m related to an “increased
pension scheme deficit,” BAA said. The company wrote down another £225m on the
shortfall between Gatwick’s sale price and its valuation.     It was also hit by
a £136m loss on financial instruments.

“The accounting losses we are reporting today reflect non-cash exceptional charges
and do not reflect the strong underlying performance of the business,” said the
chief executive, Colin Matthews.

Ferrovial’s shares fell 2.1% to €28.10 in Madrid by mid-morning. The company
has been struggling with the large amount of debt BAA accumulated when Ferrovial
purchased the group. BAA’s net debt stood at £9.7bn at the end of September, up
from £9.4bn a year earlier.

BAA is appealing a regulator’s decision that also forces it to sell Stansted
and one of two Scottish airports by spring 2011.



see also


Financial Times   29.10.2009

Gatwick writedown throws BAA off course

BAA’s losses widen in the first nine months of the year, the airports operator
reports, after it books a £225m loss on its forced sale of Gatwick earlier this