PE firm Ardian, Saudi PIF to buy Ferrovial’s 25% stake in Heathrow Airport for $3b

Infrastructure giant Ferrovial has reached an agreement with two different buyers to sell its entire 25% stake in Britain’s busiest airport, Heathrow, for 2.37 billion pounds ($3.01 billion) the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Ferrovial said the buyers for the stake in FGP Topco — the parent company of Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd — were private equity fund Ardian and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). Ardian would acquire a 15% stake and PIF a 10% stake.

The transaction is subject to regulatory conditions and must comply with the right of first offer and full tag-along rights, which may be exercised by the other FGP Topco shareholders, Ferrovial added.

Ferrovial expects to complete the sale by mid-2024, according to a person familiar with the operation.

The Spanish group bought an indirect stake of 55.87% in Heathrow Airport Holdings in 2006. It sold 10.6% to Qatar Holding in 2012 and eventually reduced its stake to 25% in 2013.

In August 2022, three people familiar with the talks told Reuters about interest in Ferrovial‘s stake from Ardian, which discussed a possible joint proposal with PIF with its own advisers.

Earlier this month, Ferrovial said that operations at Heathrow remained positive, receiving 59.4 million passengers in the first nine months of this year, up 34.4% from 2022. Passenger traffic in September exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

But the company also warned that British aviation regulator CAA’s decision telling Ferrovial to cut the fees it charges airlines for the period between 2024 and 2026 would hit investments.

The group said it remained fully committed to continuing to invest in the airport business. Ferrovial also has a 50% stake in three other British hubs: Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton.

The company, which seeks to be listed in the United States stock market early next year, has a 49% stake in the new Terminal One at New York City’s JFK airport.

Reuters