Vinci buys majority stake in Gatwick airport for £2.9bn

French infrastructure group Vinci has bought a 50.01 per cent stake in the UK’s Gatwick airport for £2.9bn, the company has announced.

Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport, with 46m passengers in the past year, and is the world’s busiest single-runway airport. It was disrupted in the run-up to Christmas by drone sightings which forced its closure for more than a day.

Each of the existing shareholders, which include private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), sold down half of their stakes, leaving GIP with 21 per cent and ADIA with 7.9 per cent.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System kept 6.4 per cent, the National Pension Service of Korea 6 per cent and the Future Fund Board of Guardians, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, 8.6 per cent.

Vinci is one of the world’s largest construction groups and infrastructure operators, with activities ranging across toll roads, airports, energy and telecoms and other big civil engineering projects.

The French company is one of the biggest operators of airports in the world, with 12 in France and 10 in Portugal as well as others in Japan, Cambodia, Serbia, South America and the Caribbean.

Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, who will stay in his job, said: “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.”

Nicolas Notebaert, chief executive of Vinci Concessions and president of Vinci Airports, said: “The whole Vinci Airports network will benefit from Gatwick airport’s world-class management and operational excellence.”

The parties expect the transaction to complete by mid-2019.

In the year to the end of March 2018, Gatwick reported revenue of £764m, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £411m.

additional reporting by Mark Odell


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