Ferrovial buys – and sells – three UK airports for $1.7bn

A joint venture between Ferrovial Aeropuertos of Spain and Australian investment bank Macquarie  is to buy Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports at a cost of $1.7bn. 

The consortium will purchase the airports from Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH), a company in which Ferrovial has a 25% stake. 

Ferrovial bought HAH in 2006, at which time it was known as BAA and operated seven airports across Britain. Four of its facilities were sold off after a Competition Commission inquiry found that passengers were suffering as a result of BAA’s dominant position.  

After the completion of this transaction, HAH will own only Heathrow airport, but the Spanish contractor will have increased its share of the UK airport sector.  

Iñigo Meirás, the chief executive of Ferrovial, said: "We’re aware of the importance of these airports for the population in their surrounding areas. The transaction proves how valuable these assets are for Ferrovial. 

"We’re committed to improving these facilities and their services looking to a better passenger experience and in order to grant access to further domestic and international destinations." 

He said the three airports would continue to be managed locally, but would have the additional support of Ferrovial and Macquarie. 

Sir Peter Mason Chairman of Thames Water, will be appointed as chairman of the group on completion of the deal. 

Macquarie’s half of the 50:50 joint venture is made up of its European Infrastructure Fund 4. Edward Beckley, the manager of the fund, said: "We look forward to working with these airports over the long term to support route growth and enhance the passenger experience for the communities they serve." 

Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton were repectively the eighth, 14th and 18th busiest airports in the UK in 2013. 

The transaction is expected to completed no later than January next year.

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