F2i buys 30% of Milan airport for €385m

But the purchase comes amid controversy, as a fund of Indian firm SREI Infrastructure, which saw its higher bid of €425m disqualified, is weighing whether to appeal the award by the Milanese authorities.

Italian infrastructure fund F2i has walked away with a 29.7 percent stake in Milan’s Malpensa Airport, located some 90 minutes from the city centre, after a controversial procurement process that saw a higher bidder – a fund managed by Indian firm SREI Infrastructure – disqualified for allegedly submitting its offer for the airport after the bidding deadline expired.

F2i paid €385 million for the stake, which will see it pay the Milanese authorities €340 million upfront when the deal closes on December 29 and the remaining €45 million two months later.

SREI Infrastructure, which submitted a higher €425 million bid, saw its offer disqualified by the Milan authorities, which argue it came in after the bidding deadline had expired. A spokesman from SREI contests this, telling Reuters that SREI’s exclusion was “disconcerting and not correct”. He added that SREI is weighing whether to appeal the decision.

F2i has been very active in the Italian market this year. In November, the €1.85 billion fund took a minority stake in a toll road for €65 million, from the municipalities of Padua and Vicenza. A month before, F2i, together with AXA Private Equity, secured a €2.1 billion bank loan to consolidate several Italian gas networks the consortium owns, including a recent acquisition of G6 Rete Gas from GDF Suez.