Qatar to take 20% stake in UK airports operator

Qatar Holding says it has agreed terms for stake in BAA in deal worth $1.41bn
Heathrow Airport, British Airways
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 18 Aug 2012 09:27 AM

Qatar Holding has agreed terms to buy a 20 percent stake in the company which owns BAA, the UK-based airport operator, in a deal worth £900m ($1.41bn).

Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial said it had reached an agreement to sell 10.62 percent of FGP Topco Ltd, the holding company which owns BAA, to Qatar Holding for £478m.

As part of the same transaction, Britannia Airport Partners and GIC have also sold to Qatar Holding shares equivalent to 5.63 percent and 3.75 percent respectively, making Qatar Holding’s total purchase of shares equal to 20 percent.

A statement said Qatar Holding will become a member of the boards of FGP Topco Ltd and BAA Ltd.

Qatar Holding said it maintains its view that the United Kingdom remains an "attractive investment destination and there is long-term fundamental strength in the British economy".

It added: "This acquisition is a key element in our exposure to the infrastructure sector, and help to further diversify Qatar Holding global investment portfolio."

The deal is conditional upon obtaining approval from the European Competition authorities, and is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Inigo Meiras, CEO of Ferrovial, said: "We are very pleased to welcome an investor of the quality of Qatar Holding, with whom we will continue to work, together with the existing shareholders, to ensure that Heathrow retains its position as one of the best infrastructure assets in the world."

A consortium including Ferrovial acquired BAA in June 2006.

BAA 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.

BAA posted £1.270bn in revenues during the same period, an eight percent increase.

Ferrovial said after the sale of 10.6 percent of FGP Topco, it would retain a 39.37 percent holding in BAA.

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