Blast from the past

Infrastructure may still be trying to shake off its reputation as a “boring” asset class, but events in London reached an almost explosive conclusion last month.

An unexploded 500kg bomb dropped on London during the Second World War was found 15 metres underwater at the King George V Dock, footsteps away from London City Airport. As a result, the airport was closed from the Sunday afternoon on which it was found until the following Tuesday morning, with the site circled by a 214-metre exclusion zone.

No doubt, the airport’s owners – AIMCo, OTPP, OMERS and the Kuwait Investment Authority – got more than they bargained for, with the bomb uncovered during work on the consortium’s £400 million ($561 million; €452 million) expansion. The unexploded device probably also put some party plans on ice, with the discovery coming just a couple of weeks short of the consortium’s two-year anniversary of its £2 billion acquisition from Global Infrastructure Partners.

While it’s estimated that about 10 percent of German bombs that fell during the Blitz failed to detonate, the discovery by London City Airport was said by the Royal Navy to be one of the biggest.