Heathrow Airport Holdings ‘set to sell regional airports’

Heathrow Airport Holdings is being tipped to offload ownership of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports in a deal worth about £1 billion.

Heathrow’s biggest shareholder, Ferrovial, and Australian infrastructure giant Macquarie have reportedly teamed up to buy the three airports, which collectively handle about 13 million passengers a year.

Heathrow Airport Holdings, which changed its name from BAA in 2012, is selling the three sites to focus on expanding the UK’s biggest airport and winning approval for a third runway, the Sunday Times reported.

The sale will mark the end of a break up that started in 2008 when the Competition Commission told BAA to sell three of its seven airports. Global Infrastructure Partners bought Gatwick for £1.5 billion in 2009 and paid £807 million for Edinburgh in 2012. Stansted was sold to Manchester Airports Group for £1.5 billion in 2013.

Macquarie is reported to have sold its 50% share of Bristol airport to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in a deal said to be worth about £250 million.

That makes Ontario — which manages about £85 billion worth of pensions for thousands of Canadian teachers — the sole owner of Bristol, and removes a competition hurdle to Macquarie’s investment in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton.

Passenger numbers at Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton increased by 2.9% last year, with Glasgow handling 7.4 million travellers. Aberdeen’s passengers rose to a record 3.5 million, helped by the North Sea oil and gas renaissance. The airports made a combined £65 million of underlying earnings.

The long-awaited sale has been delayed by Heathrow’s complex shareholding structure, but is expected to be announced within weeks, according to the newspaper.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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