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Interest strong ahead of Edinburgh Airport sale launch

With an information memorandum being distributed to interested parties on Jan 17, a host of firms including infrastructure funds have been named in press reports as having an interest in the UK’s sixth-busiest airport by passenger numbers

Information memoranda will be sent next week (Tuesday 17 January) to those parties that have expressed an interest in bidding for Scotland’s Edinburgh Airport, a spokesperson for the airport confirmed. 

Although the sale process has yet to officially get underway, a long list of potential bidders has already been named in media reports. Infrastructure Investor received confirmation last November that a consortium led by Scottish merchant bank Noble Grossart and including US alternative asset manager Carlyle Group was planning to bid.

At around the same time, the Financial Times reported that a consortium was also being put together by Ben Thomson, chairman of Scottish investment bank Inverleith Capital, who was thought to be working with Richard Jeffrey, a former managing director of Edinburgh Airport. 

Since then, a host of other names have been put in the frame. Last week Reuters said US-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), which achieved a first close of $3 billion on its second infrastructure fund toward the end of last year, had appointed RBS to advise it on a bid. GIP already has London’s Gatwick Airport in its portfolio. 

Other potential bidders cited by Reuters included a 3i/M&G/Universities Superannuation Scheme consortium; Frankfurt Airport owner Fraport; Turkish airport operator TAV; Charles de Gaulle Airport owner Aeroports de Paris; Canadian investment group Borealis Infrastructure; and YVRAS, the operator of Canada’s Vancouver Airport. 

London-based infrastructure fund manager Arcus Infrastructure Partners was also named as a “possible” bidder along with Manchester Airport Group and Peel Holdings, a real estate, transport and infrastructure investor. 

Meanwhile, a report from Bloomberg earlier this week linked South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corp to a possible offer, as well as investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Company. 

BAA, the UK airports operator owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, said last October that it would seek to sell Edinburgh Airport after a UK Competition Commission ruling forcing it to sell one of its Scottish airports plus London’s Stansted Airport. 

The sale is expected to fetch somewhere in the range of £400 million (€481 million; $618 million) and £600 million. Edinburgh Airport has been seeing passenger numbers grow rapidly, and is currently the sixth-busiest airport in the UK on this measure.