Vinci has signed an agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Gatwick Airport for £2.9bn.
The French contracting giant has signed an agreement to acquire an effective 50.01 per cent in the Sussex airport from current shareholders.
A consortium led by investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) acquired the airport in 2009, and GIP - which also increased it’s stake from 42 per cent - will continue to manage the other 49.99 per cent of the business after the latest transaction is complete in the first half of the year.
Nicolas Notebaert, chief executive officer of Vinci Concessions and president of Vinci Airports, said: “As Gatwick’s new industrial partner, Vinci Airports will support and encourage growth of traffic, operational efficiency and leverage its international expertise in the development of commercial activities to further improve passenger satisfaction and experience.”
Multinational Vinci’s airports division already owns major stakes in many airports, and manages 45 of them in several different countries. It acquired ownership of Belfast International Airport last year.
In the year ended 31 March 2018, Gatwick Airport Group reported total revenue of £764.2m, with EBITDA of £411.2m.
The airport’s senior management team will remain in place following the takeover, the operator said in a statement on the move, that also thanked those who helped re-open the site after suspected drone activity caused days of disruption in the run up to Christmas.
While Gatwick lost out to Heathrow in the government’s pick for an extra south east runway with MPs voting in favour of the plan last June, Gatwick is safeguarding land in case its expansion becomes possible in future.