French concessions and construction giant, Vinci, has acquired am effective 50.01% stake in Britain’s second largest and Europe’s eighth busiest airport, despite overall investment and economic uncertainty surrounding UK’s exit from the European Union.
On December 27, VINCI Airports, a VINCI Concessions subsidiary, signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake from current shareholders an effective in Gatwick Airport Limited, a freehold property airport.
The other 49.99% will be managed by Global Infrastructure Partners, headquartered in New York.
The freehold ownership structure appealed to Vinci, who see such a perpetual property duration regime “extremely valuable for VINCI Airports as a long term strategic investor and operator.”
“Creating synergies and sharing best practices being at the core of our values, the whole VINCI Airports network will benefit from Gatwick Airport’s world-class management and operational excellence, which has allowed it to deliver strong and steady growth in a very constrained environment. As Gatwick’s new industrial partner, VINCI Airports will support and encourage growth of traffic, operational efficiency and leverage its international expertise in the development of commercial activities to further improve passenger satisfaction and experience,” Nicolas Notebaert, Chief Executive Officer of VINCI Concessions and President of VINCI Airports, said.
The reported total revenue of Gatwick Airport Group in the year ended 31 March 2018 was over $965.2 million (£764.2 mln). The consideration payable for the 50.01% stake is approximately GBP2.9 billion, subject to closing adjustments.
Commenting on the acquisition announcement, Gatwick’s Chairman Sir David Higgins, welcomed the news, calling it a “vote of confidence in Gatwick and its future potential.”
Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport, Stewart Wingate, also gladly received the announcement:
“This is good news for the airport as it will mean both continuity but also further investment for passengers over the coming years to improve our services further. We currently fly to over 220 destinations around the world and are ambitious to do even more in the years ahead. Now we are through the recent disruption at the airport and services are fully back to normal I would once again like to express my thanks to passengers for their patience during this challenging period.”
Gatwick made the news headlines in the run up to Christmas holidays in Britain, when its operation had been halted due to a reported drone sightings over the airport’s grounds, causing travel chaos for thousands of passengers.
READ MORE: Unidentified Objects Spotted Over Gatwick Amid Drone Mayhem
The Vinci transaction is expected to complete in the first half of 2019.