Speculation that GIP, Ferrovial and MAG interested in buying Aberdeen Glasgow and/or Southampton airports
Sky News has learned “from banking sources” that various infrastructure investors are interested in buying Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports – amid expectations that their owner, Heathrow Holdings, will opt to sell them – to focus on its ownership of Heathrow. It is understood that Heathrow is considering a plan to offload, following a string of unsolicited approaches from prospective buyers. Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) which owns Gatwick and City airports, has expressed an interest in buying Aberdeen airport, although it has not yet made a formal bid. A number of Heathrow’s shareholders and board members are said to be keen to dispose of the 3 regional airports but its board has not yet made a formal decision. Ferrovial now only owns 25% of Heathrow,and is reported as now likely to be interested in buying one or more of the airports, through a separate vehicle. MAG is also understood to want to buy one or more of them.
Bidders Eye Smaller Heathrow-Owned Airports
A number of firms are poised to make offers for three airports expected to be sold by Heathrow’s owner, Sky News understands.
By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
A flock of infrastructure investors is circling some of Britain’s biggest regional airports amid expectations that their owner will opt to sell them in order to focus on its ownership of Heathrow.
Heathrow Airport Holdings, which was known as BAA until it was renamed a year ago, is understood to be mulling a plan to offload Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports following a string of unsolicited approaches from prospective buyers.
Sky News has learnt from banking sources that Global Infrastructure Partners, the firm which owns London’s Gatwick and City airports, has expressed an interest in acquiring Aberdeen airport, although it has not yet made a formal bid.
A decision to sell the airports would come amid a crucial Government-commissioned review being led by Sir Howard Davies, the former director of the London School of Economics, which will outline several options for expanding airport capacity in the south-east before the end of the year.
A number of Heathrow’s shareholders and board members are said to be keen to dispose of the three regional airports that are the last remaining remnants of the former BAA’s monopoly over the UK’s airport infrastructure.
However, the company’s board has not yet made a formal decision to undertake an auction of the assets and could ultimately decide against doing so, a person close to Heathrow said on Wednesday.
Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure group which took BAA private in 2006 in a debt-fuelled deal, has steadily reduced its investment in Heathrow in recent years by selling small chunks of shares to sovereign wealth funds in China, Qatar and Singapore.
Last month, the Universities Superannuation Scheme, one of the UK’s biggest pension fund managers, bought an 8.65% stake in Heathrow’s holding company, a move which saw Ferrovial’s shareholding lowered to 25%.
Banking sources say that Ferrovial is now likely to be interested in acquiring one or more of Aberdeen, Glasgow or Southampton airports through a separate vehicle.
Shortly after Ferrovial’s takeover of BAA, competition authorities ordered the company to break itself up by selling Stansted, Gatwick and either Glasgow or Edinburgh, the latter of which was sold two years ago.
Manchester Airports Group, which now owns Stansted, is also a likely bidder for some of the Heathrow-owned airports, analysts believe.
Heathrow Airport accounts for more than 95% of its parent company’s annual profits, making the sale of the other regional assets “inevitable” within the next three years, said one.
A Heathrow spokesman declined to comment.
Scotsman speculates that Heathrow Holdings may sell Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airport to raise cash for Heathrow runway
November 4, 2013 The Scotsman speculates that Heathrow Holdings Ltd (aka BAA) is considering selling Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, for a figure in the range of £1 billion, so it can focus more on Heathrow and getting a third runway. Some 8 0 – 905 of its business comes from Heathrow. The Scotsman says it has learnt that Heathrow Airport Holdings has held talks with advisers with a view to seeking buyers. Ferrovial, which has reduced its stake in Heathrow to 25% since buying BAA in 2006, is thought to be considering a deal to buy out the other shareholders in the 3 regional airports. Heathrow Airports declined to comment, but analysts believe a decision to sell makes sense, particularly if the airport was to secure approval for the extra runway. The sale would help Heathrow raise capital for a new runway. The potential prices will depend on passenger numbers. It is speculated that Glasgow might sell for £600 million, and Aberdeen + Southampton might go for £450 – 500 million for the two. They are all thought to be marketable. Click here to view full story…