[Guardian] Qatar‘s sovereign wealth fund is buying 20% of Heathrow owner BAA in a move that adds the airport operator to a portfolio of British interests including Harrods and stakes in Barclays and J Sainsbury.
Ferrovial, the Spanish conglomerate and the largest shareholder, is to sell a 10.6% stake in BAA’s parent company to Qatar Holding. At the same time two more shareholders have sold shares representing 9.4% of the business to the fund, leaving it with a 20% investment in the owner of the Heathrow, Stansted, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports. The total value of the transaction is £900m.
Qatar Holding, funded by proceeds from the world’s third largest gas reserves, said the UK was an “attractive investment destination” and that it saw “long-term fundamental strength in the British economy”. It added: “Qatar Holding looks forward to working together with our fellow shareholders and the management team of BAA to enhance the company’s industry leadership and create sustainable value.”
The transaction represents further retrenchment by Ferrovial from one of the UK’s most bruising foreign takeovers, although the Spanish group denied that it is seeking a full exit. With the ink barely dry on the €16bn takeover of BAA by a Ferrovial-led consortium in 2006, Heathrow buckled under a new security regime following the interruption of a plot to bomb airliners with liquid explosives.
Ferrovial’s reputation took years to recover and in 2010 it announced plans to sell off a chunk of its 55% shareholding, which will stand at less than 40% once the Qatar deal is completed.
At the time Ferrovial, frustrated by a perceived undervaluation of BAA in its share price, said it was selling a stake to get a market value for the asset. However, analysts said it would…….
Dan Milmo – Guardian.co.uk
Friday 17 August, 2012
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