GIP in talks to syndicate final Gatwick stake

The fund manager is in discussions with a fourth investor to conclude the last stake sale in the ongoing equity syndication of Gatwick airport. The deal could see the Gatwick owner sell a 9 percent stake in the airport for more than £70m, maintaining a 51% controlling stake in the asset.

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the $5.64 billion independent fund manager, is in talks with a fourth investor to syndicate a final equity stake in London’s Gatwick airport, a source familiar with the negotiations told Infrastructure Investor.

Gatwick: talks ongoing
to sell final stake

The deal, which may be concluded before the end of the year, could see GIP divest a 9 percent stake in the London airport for over £70 million (€82 million; $111 million), if priced in line with previous stake sales. The buyer is a “well known LP in the infrastructure community,” the source said, adding that it is not based in the Middle East, contrary to previous media reports.

So far, GIP has successfully syndicated a total of 39.7 percent of Gatwick’s equity to three institutional investors for a total of over £330 million. That leaves it with 60.3 percent of the equity in Gatwick, opening the door for a last minority stake sale of 9.3 percent before GIP would hit the 51 percent threshold needed to keep control of the airport.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (12.7 percent), the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (15 percent) and South Korea’s National Pension Service (12 percent) have all bought stakes in Gatwick over the course of the year.

GIP acquired Gatwick from Ferrovial-owned BAA in December 2009 for £1.5 billion. The airport, located 28 miles south of London, serves approximately 33 million passengers a year, making it the UK’s second-largest airport behind London Heathrow.