BAA Agrees to Sell Gatwick Airport

BAA has agreed to sell its interest in Gatwick Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners for $2.5 billion.

Of the sale price, $91 million is conditional on future traffic performance and the buyer’s future capital structure. Proceeds will be used to primarily repay part of BAA’s existing debt.

BAA announced its plans to sell Gatwick in September 2008, before the end of the Competition Commission’s UK airports market investigation. The inquiry found that customers were suffering from a lack of competition between airports.

BAA has been ordered to sell Stansted and one of either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports, but is appealing against the decision this week.

The sale is subject to EU merger regulation clearance. Completion of the sale is scheduled for December.

Investment fund GIP already owns London City.

At the start of this year, BAA said its annual profits had fallen by 18.4 percent after the economic downturn dented passenger numbers. It reported a profit of $965 million before tax and interest, down from $1.18 billion in 2007, as the number of travelers going through its UK airports fell by 2.7 percent.

BAA was bought by Spain’s Ferrovial for more than $16.5 billion in 2006.