Tuesday, January 27, 2009

London City Airport confirms bid

London City Airport’s owner is one of six groups which has lodged a bid for Gatwick.

The deadline for offers passed on Monday and saw Global Infrastructure Partners, which was founded by Credit Suisse and General Electric, finally make its move for the BAA airport.

Other groups bidding for Gatwick include a fund led by Manchester Airport Group, and a consortium including Citi Infrastructure Investors and Vancouver Airport.

City Airport bosses have made no secret of their interest in Gatwick in the past, but this week GIP was remaining tight-lipped about the details of the bid, including the sum offered.

Spokesman Stephen Hardwick said: “All we can say is we have made an indicative bid for Gatwick Airport.”
BAA, which is owned by Ferrovial, was hoping for offers of about £2billion for the first round of bids for Gatwick. However, early reports suggest they are more likely to be around £1.7bn mark.

The other interested parties are a Canadian consortium called Ontario Teachers and Canada Pension Plan; the Gatwick Future Partnership backed by Deutsche Bank; and Hochtief AirPort, part of Germany’s largest construction group.

The Competition Commission is due to come to a final conclusion on its investigation into BAA’s ownership of UK airports in March.

It is expected to order the group to sell both Gatwick and Stansted.

If that is the case GIP could switch its attention to Stansted.

Ferrovial, which bought BAA in 2006, decided to pre-empt the result of the Competition Commission’s investigation by putting Gatwick up for sale in September.

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth last week used race equality laws in a bid to halt the increase of flights at City Airport.

When Newham Council had to discuss the outline approval to increase flights from 80,000 to 120,000 a year, the environmental group submitted an application arguing a race equalities impact assessment should be carried out before the signing of the 106 order.

The committee then said it would defer a decision after Friends of the Earth put forward another submission claming climate change affects on the community had not been properly investigated.

The committee said the submission had come in too late for it to be properly considered and would be discussed at a rearranged meeting in February or March.