Ardian eyes two regional French airports

The investments would be made out of the firm's fourth infrastructure fund, which reached its hard cap of €2.65bn last month.

Paris-based fund manager Ardian yesterday confirmed plans to take part in privatisation tenders for two French regional airports.

The firm and its international consortium partners, the names of which haven't been disclosed, have already submitted an application to bid for Nice Cote d'Azur Airport. The government plans to offload its 60 percent stake in the asset, which is the busiest French airport outside of Paris, according to the Centre for Aviation (CAPA). 

Ardian's next target is Lyon-Saint-Exupery Airport, a tender for which is expected to launch shortly after the firm submits its offer for Nice Airport.

“Ardian Infrastructure is a natural partner and investor in Nice airport,” said Mathias Burghardt, Ardian board member and head of its infrastructure platform, in a statement. “Our intention is to develop not only the airport itself but also the areas that surround it and its transport links. Part of this will be the use of technology, which provides airport operators and owners with a huge opportunity to improve and differentiate the passenger experience.” 

Investments into the regional airports would be made out of Ardian's Fund IV, which reached its €2.65 billion hard cap last month after receiving a commitment from the California State Teachers' Retirement System

Ardian bills itself as one of the largest airport operators in Europe, with more than 60 million passengers passing through hubs it manages in 2015. It is a major shareholder in London Luton Airport, the UK's fifth-busiest. It is also invested in Italian airport group 2iAeroporti, a firm that owns six major Italian airports including those of Milan, Turin and Naples. 

All told, Ardian Infrastructure holds €6 billion in assets under management, which it says makes it the largest European infrastructure manager by value.