Gatwick, London, airport, Vinci
London Gatwick (photo: Vinci Airports)

France’s Vinci takes majority stake in Gatwick

The French company has completed the purchase of a majority of shares in London’s second-largest airport.

French construction and transport concession group Vinci has formally completed its previously announced £2.9 billion (€3.34 billion) takeover of a majority stake in London’s Gatwick airport.

The transaction was first announced last December, as Vinci took advantage of a Brexit-related decrease in UK asset prices to buy the 50.01% stake in Gatwick, which is Britain’s second-busiest airport after Heathrow.

“London Gatwick’s integration into the Vinci Airports network is an excellent outcome for both organisations. Our synergies will lead to further tangible benefits for employees, passengers and airlines,” promised Nicolas Notebaert, president of Vinci Airports.

With this transaction, Vinci becomes the world’s second-largest airport operator with over 240 million passengers a year, including 46 million at London Gatwick. The company claims it now operates the “world’s largest and most diversified airport network”, with 46 airports in 12 countries.

Benefits and change
Vinci Airports also claimed that as part of a global network operating on three continents, London Gatwick’s 3,200 employees would now have access to broader professional opportunities.

And, together with Global Infrastructure Partners, which manages the remaining 49.99% of London Gatwick, it pledged that the governance of Gatwick would largely remain the same.

David Higgins, Stewart Wingate and Nick Dunn will remain, respectively, as chairman, CEO and CFO of the airport and will be joined by Cédric Laurier from Vinci Airports as CTO (chief technical officer).

The Vinci Group financed the transaction by borrowing and in particular through a sterling bond issue launched in March.

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