labels: News reports, Government / regulatory
UK's BAA completes $24.81 billion refinancing programme news
19 August 2008

UK airport's operator BAA has completed a long-awaited 13.3 billion ($24.81 billion) refinancing of its seven UK airports, which it said will provide "a stable, long-term, investment grade financing platform for investment in [London] Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW)and Stansted (STN) airports over the coming decades."

Of the total amount, 3 billion will be deployed immediately to fund investment projects across the seven airports under its control - LHR, STN, LGW, Edinburgh, Glasgow International, Aberdeen and Southampton.

The operator has finalised the refinancing deal just days before the UK Competition Commission is due to announce the findings of its investigation into domestic airport ownership.

In its interim report published in April, the Commission had remarked that the operator's ownership of the seven airports "may not be serving the interests of either airlines or passengers". This has sparked strong speculation that BAA might be forced to sell one or more of its facilities.

Over the weekend, in conversations with the media, chairman Nigel Rudd did concede that he expected the watchdog to recommend a breakup of the company. He also conceded that there had been "huge expressions of interest" in LGW and STN but insisted neither was for sale at present.

Likely bidders include the Manchester Airport Group, along with Hochtief, Macquarie and Dubai International Capital. Ryanair is a likely dark horse.


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UK's BAA completes $24.81 billion refinancing programme