BAA ordered to sell two airports
The Competition Commission has told BAA to sell two of its airports.
Airport news for Gatwick,Flights on 31/03/2011.
Britain’s Competition Commission has ordered airport operator BAA to sell two of the airports it still owns in the UK. The Commission told BAA it should sell Stansted Airport, as well as Edinburgh or Glasgow.
For almost two years, BAA has been battling in the UK court system to block a ruling that it had to sell three of the airports the company owned in Britain. Since BAA was first ordered to divest itself of three British airports, BAA has endeavoured to use legal moves in a bid to hold on to its remaining airports.
In December of 2009, Spanish-owned BAA sold Gatwick airport to Global Infrastructure Partners, an investment fund led by General Electric and Credit Suisse. GIP also owns three-quarters of London City Limited.
That sale was worth £1.51 billion to BAA, which was recently angered by news that GIP had taken a special dividend of £330 million from Gatwick airport just 15 months after it acquired the London-area facility. Though that spectacular payout appeared to be the result of an attractive round of refinancing, GIP responded to BAA’s complaints by arguing that it had invested both money and strategy in Gatwick’s new-found success.
BAA has continued to push for a review of the Competition Commission’s order to sell three more airports. However, the Commission has just announce that its original position, which was taken in order to ensure sufficient competition for consumers, has not changed.
The Commission’s latest announcement is only a provisional ruling, one that BAA says it will consider carefully before determining its next steps. The BAA will issue a final verdict on the matter by May or June.