Firm interested in £250m airport buyout

Shirley Knight from Bristol Airport marks the first flights to Tunisia. Photo by Dan Regan

Shirley Knight from Bristol Airport marks the first flights to Tunisia. Photo by Dan Regan - Credit: Archant

RUMOURS are intensifying that Bristol Airport’s main shareholders are looking to sell in a deal which could be worth £250million.

For several weeks there has been talk that Australian asset manager Macquarie Group is looking to offload its 50 per cent stake in the Lulsgate site.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which owns 49 per cent of the remaining shares, has now publicly expressed interest in increasing its stake, paving the way for a possible buyout.

While any potential deal is expected to reach about £250million, it is unlikely to have any major bearings on the day-to-day running of the airport.

Macquarie Group’s bargaining position is greatly enhanced by the airport’s increasing success over the past 12 months. It is the only airport in the UK’s top 10 to have recorded increased passenger numbers every year since 2009.

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Almost 650,000 passengers passed through the terminal as the airport enjoyed its busiest ever June on record earlier this summer, while last year more than 6.1 million travellers used it – a three per cent rise on 2012.

A new £6.5million walkway has also recently opened providing extra departure gates, as the airport continues apace with its expansion plans with a number of new routes proving popular with customers.

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This week, bosses also announced an £8.6million extension to the terminal - the first since it opened in 2000 - will start soon and be open in time for next summer.

The airport hopes to cater for 10 million travellers per year by the end of the decade and a new route to Tunisia has been launched by operator Just Sunshine. The route will continue until mid-October.

Shirley Knight, business development executive for Bristol Airport said it was great news and provides even more options for holidaymakers in the South West.

Bristol Airport will not want to comment on speculation regarding any potential sale at this stage.

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