After a long battle to retain ownership of Stansted Airport, Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited (formerly BAA) has agreed to sell Stansted to Manchester Airports Group (MAG) for a fee of £1.5b.
In purchasing Stansted, MAG has teamed up with Industry Funds Management (IFM), which will become a strategic investor in MAG, taking a 35.5% stake in the UK airport group.
MAG owns and operates Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, while IFM owns stakes in nine Australian airports.
Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of MAG commented: “We are delighted to be successful in our bid for Stansted Airport, the London airport for Europe. The transaction represents a significant milestone in the achievement of our previously stated strategy of adding a quality airport to the group and delivering long term value to our shareholders.
“MAG has a strong track record of creating shareholder value through strategic investment and enhancing operations to improve customer service and drive increased passenger numbers. We will use that expertise at Stansted to ensure that the airport can fulfil its potential as a high quality alternative London access point for global air travellers. Stansted has scope to benefit from significant volume growth over the short, medium and long term.
Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow, said: “Stansted Airport and its people have been part of our company for a long time. It has been named by passengers as ‘the world’s best airport for low-cost airlines’ for two consecutive years at the Skytrax World Airport Awards, and we are proud of its achievements. We wish the new owners every success and are confident the airport will continue to flourish. We will continue to focus on improving Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports”.
The deal to complete the sale is expected to be completed by the end of February 2013.