Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport and its sale has sparked interest across the globe . The government decided that it had to be sold by its current owners. There are three bidders at the moment – Global Infrastructure Partners, JP Morgan Asset Management, and a consortium of 3i, M&G Infracapital and the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Offers have to be lodged in April, and a buyer is expected to be selected in the early summer. All bidders will be able to carry out due diligence on the airport before lodging their offers. It is believed that a fourth bidder , the Carlyle Group, the US private equity company, have pulled out of the £600 million bid battle for Edinburgh airport. Carlyle’s exit has surprised many in the industry who considered it a strong candidate, given the line-up of partners it pulled together, including the Edinburgh-based investment bank Noble Grossart, run by Sir Angus Grossart. The company was also believed to have attracted interest in joining a consortium from a number of other Scottish business leaders. But it is also understood that Sir Brian Souter, the founder of transport group Stagecoach, did not have talks with Carlyle, despite speculation that he was involved. He has since declared that he is not taking part at this stage. Prestwick Airport is going to be transferred to a new owner as its current New Zealand-based owner have called it an under-performing asset. Infrastructure investment company Infratil said it will also look for a buyer for Manston Airport in Kent. Prestwick, which is budget airline Ryanair’s Scottish base, has a terminal capacity of three million and is situated in Ayrshire, about 45 minutes from Glasgow. Iain Cochrane, chief executive of Glasgow Prestwick airport, said: “At the Infratil Investor Day today in New Zealand, it was announced that Infratil intends to sell both Glasgow Prestwick and Manston airports. “This decision comes from a re-focusing of Infratil’s investment profile and has been under consideration for some time. It’s consistent with Infratil chief executive Marco Bogoievski’s public comments over recent months. “Prestwick is a great airport with a great team and a great future. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for us to attract new investment into the airport to provide the stimulus for future growth. “Today, it’s business as usual as the busy summer season approaches and we’re totally focused on looking after our customers.”
Edinburgh Airport is to go on sale for upwards of £500m after the Competition Commission forced it to give up one of its Scottish hubs.
The operator BAA ,who run six UK airports, including Heathrow and Stansted, have decided to sell Edinburgh because it is valued at substantially more than Glasgow. The airport has continued to grow in visitor numbers despite the recession. It has added a number of new routes this year. There are a number of potential buyers for the airport
John Strickland, an aviation analyst at JLS Consulting, said: “Edinburgh Airport is performing much better than Glasgow, so it will be easier to sell in a difficult market. Edinburgh is more appealing because it has more high-paying business customers.”
Edinburgh was called “the jewel in the crown in Scotland,” by Douglas McNeill, an analyst at Charles Stanley, who said the airport could potential attract interest from a range of bidders.
These include Global Infrastructure Partners, a fund set up by General Electric and Credit Suisse, which bought Gatwick from BAA in 2009 in the first of a series of disposals ordered by the Competition Commission.
Manchester Airport, which bid unsuccessfully for Gatwick; Borealis Infrastructure, part of the consortium running the High Speed 1 rail link to the Channel Tunnel;, and Australia’s Macquarie are among the other potential bidders, Mr McNeill said.