EU approves Qatar stake in UK airport operator

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Spanish infrastrucure firm Ferrovial has said its deal to sell 10.62 percent of Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd, formerly BAA Ltd, to Qatar Holding for £478m ($769m) has been completed after obtaining approval from the European Union's competition authorities.

The deal, announced in August, was pending authorisation by the competition authorities but has now been given the nod after ascertaining that the trasaction complied with EU legislation on mergers and acquisitions.

Inigo Meiras, CEO of Ferrovial, said in a statement: "This transaction fulfills two objectives for us: it allows us to maintain our position as the principal shareholder and industrial partner of Heathrow Airport Holdings, and it further strengthens our liquidity situation."

As part of this same transaction, Qatar Holding also acquired stakes of 5.63 percent of FGP Topco from Britannia Airport Partners and 3.75 percent from GIC.

Qatar now owns 20 percent of Heathrow Airport Holdings in a deal worth a total of £900m.

Ferrovial's indirect stake in Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd has now declined to 33.65 percent.

Qatar Holding will join the boards of FGP Topco Ltd and Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd after the regulator approval.

At the time of the deal announcement, Qatar Holding said it maintained its view that the United Kingdom remains an "attractive investment destination and there is long-term fundamental strength in the British economy".

A consortium including Ferrovial acquired Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd, then called BAA, in June 2006.

It owns Heathrow and Stansted airports (both in London), Glasgow and Aberdeen airports in Scotland and Southampton airport in southern England.

In the first six months of 2012, those airports handled 47.4 million passengers.

Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd posted £1.270bn in revenues during the same period, an eight percent increase.

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