Ferrovial seeking sale of 10% of BAA

The Spanish infrastructure group says it wants to sell a 10% stake in the UK airports operator to help pay down debt. However, Ferrovial stresses that it will continue to be a long-term investor in BAA.

Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial has announced that it is seeking to sell a 10 percent stake in UK airports operator BAA.

Ferrovial: BAA
next in line to
cut debt

Ferrovial currently owns 55.87 percent of BAA. Britannia Airport Partners (a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec) holds 26.48 percent of the airports operator while the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation owns the remaining 17.65 percent.
Íñigo Meirás, chief executive of Ferrovial, said “completion of any sale will depend on the offers received,” adding that “our commitment as a long term investor in BAA remains in place”. Ferrovial said it plans to use the proceeds from the sale to pay down debt and help fund new projects.
Ferrovial has been divesting assets to help reduce its debt pile throughout the year. Its most recent sale has been the divestment of a 10 percent stake in Toronto’s 407 ETR highway, owned by subsidiary Cintra, which it has agreed to sell to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for €640 million.
In early October, Ferrovial announced that it had sold its 65 percent stake in Naples airport to Italian fund F2i for €150 million. Earlier in September, it had closed the sale of 60 percent of subsidiary Cintra’s Chilean business to Colombian power group ISA for $290 million.
Ferrovial led the consortium that bought BAA in 2006 for £10.3 billion (€11.6 billion; $16.1 billion). The airports operator owns London’s Heathrow and Stansted airports, Southampton airport and three Scottish airports. It was forced to sell London’s Gatwick airport to Global Infrastructure Partners last year as the result of a ruling from the UK’s Competition Commission.
BAA is currently trying to get permission from the UK authorities to appeal to the Supreme Court after a lower court reconfirmed an earlier decision from the Competition Commission that will force BAA to sell Stansted and one of its Scottish airports in a bid to stimulate competition in the UK airports sector. About a million flights a year take off from BAA’s airports, Ferrovial said.