France’s Vinci to buy majority stake in London’s Gatwick

Gatwick made headlines last week when it closed its runway repeatedly due to reports of mystery drone sightings nearby, impacting almost 140,000 passengers.

That's more than double the amount its current owners - a consortium led by U.S. investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) - paid for Gatwick ten years ago.

The airport handled 42mln passengers a year ago, but this number is expected to grow to 60mln as the airport allows more and larger planes to use its runway.

Bernstein analyst Daniel Roeska said he's not persuaded that Norwegian's business model will hold, which is a near-term risk for Gatwick because the airline is its third-biggest customer.

With the latest acquisition, Vinci Airports will control 46 airports in 12 countries with total traffic of 228 million passengers a year.

But the company has also been buying up airports - most recently in Brazil, Japan, and Serbia - making it "a top 5 global player in the worldwide airport sector", according to a statement by Gatwick.

Vinci operates over 40 airports globally across Europe, Asia and the Americas and with the Gatwick takeover it will add the UK's second-biggest airport to its portfolio.

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Gatwick's only runway hit a world record of 950 flights in a day in 2017, Vinci said.

With 45.7mn passengers in 2018, Gatwick will become the largest single airport in Vinci's global network.

Commenting on the deal, GIP partner Michael McGhee said: 'We expect the transaction to be completed by the middle of next year, with the senior leadership team remaining in place.

Notebaert said the deal would "not in the least" affect Vinci's interest in Paris airports operator ADP, which the government plans to privatise. We now fly to over 220 destinations around the world and are ambitious to do even more in the years ahead.

He said: "Now we are through the recent disruption at the airport and services are fully back to normal I would once again like to express my thanks to passengers for their patience during this challenging period".

"I know this unprecedented criminal activity caused huge inconvenience to thousands of people", said Wingate. We have appreciated the understanding and tolerance shown at what was a really challenging time for everyone, and we are grateful that passengers recognized that we should never do anything that might jeopardize their safety.

Vinci manages about 35 airports, in countries including Japan, Brazil, France and Cambodia.

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