France’s Vinci completes takeover of majority stake – 50.01% – in Gatwick
France’s Vinci completes takeover of majority stake in Gatwick airportFrench construction and transport concession group Vinci today sealed a deal to take a majority stake in Britain’s second biggest airport – London Gatwick.Vinci formally completed its £2.9 billion deal to buy a 50.01% stake in the airport, which was first announced last December.
The company took advantage of a Brexit-related hit to UK asset prices to buy the stake in Gatwick, which is Britain’s second-busiest airport after London Heathrow.
Sterling has fallen around 10% in the last 13 months, as British Prime Minister Theresa May has failed to pass her Brexit deal, delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union until October 31.
But Vinci Airports President Nicolas Notebaert said he did not think that Brexit would change Gatwick’s prospects.
He said this was due to strong demand from tourists to travel to London and the number of people who live in Gatwick’s catchment area.
“We know there is a long list of (airlines) waiting to get slots, we know the passengers within London need to travel,” Notebaert told Reuters, adding that a economic hit from a disorderly Brexit was unlikely to change that.
“Even if there is a slight effect, the constraint on the London capacity area in airports mean that we are very confident about the outcome for the traffic in London Gatwick,” he added.
The acquisition gives Vinci, which already runs 45 airports in 12 countries, access to the world’s largest metropolitan aviation market.
The company is now the second largest airport operator in the world, behind Spain’s Aena but it has overtaken French rival ADP.
France’s plans to privatise ADP will be delayed, and possibly blocked, after the Constitutional Council last week approved plans for a referendum on the issue.
Vinci is a candidate to be involved in that privatisation.
Asked about the delay, Notebaert said that Vinci had a duty to look at opportunities but was not focused on just one country or asset.
Notebaert said that competition reasons might prevent Vinci from investing in another London airport, but that the company could well invest elsewhere in Britain.
“We will look very carefully, and we don’t see any (reason) why we couldn’t look at the UK in the future,” he added.
Response by CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)
Gatwick announcement of ‘done deal’ with VINCI benefits shareholders but not those on the ground,” said CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions.
“It is extremely disappointing that Gatwick’s release today (14thApril) mentions nothing of reducing noise for the communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent. After the collapse to the Gatwick Noise Management Board last week it is difficult to know how residents are to make their voices heard that ‘enough is enough’ with the current level of aircraft noise that they are expected to endure day and night.
Communities will have to be ready to strongly oppose the Gatwick Master Plan, as mentioned in the Gatwick press release, as the standby runway is a second runway by stealth.”
Gatwick airport: majority stake 50.01% sold to French group Vinci; GIP and partners retain 49.99%
New owner says Brexit threat helped Vinci get 50.01% stake in UK’s second-busiest airport for ‘reasonable’ £2.9bn. A consortium led by the US investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is selling a majority stake of 50.01% in the airport to Vinci Airports, one of the world’s top airport operators and part of the infrastructure group Vinci. Vinci and GIP will manage Gatwick together. Gatwick will be the largest in Vinci’s portfolio of 46 airports spread across 12 countries. The French group’s network includes Lyon-Saint-Exupéry airport, Nantes Atlantique and Grenoble Alpes Isère in France; Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, Funchal in Madeira, and Osaka Itami and Kansai International in Japan. The GIP-led consortium bought Gatwick from the airport operator BAA for £1.5bn in 2009 and spent £1.9bn modernising the airport in subsequent years. The shareholders are selling down their stakes, leaving GIP with 21%, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority with 7.9%, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund with 8.6% and two public pension funds in California and South Korea with 6.4% and 6% respectively.
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