Deal to sell Heathrow stake to French and Saudi Arabian buyers sparks bigger share offer

Sixty per cent of west London transport hub set to be sold after remaining shareholders gain 'tag along rights'

Roughly 60 per cent of Heathrow could change hands as more investors offer to sell their shares. PA
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Heathrow shareholders will sell an additional 35 per cent of the airport's holding company after Saudi Arabian and French investors last year agreed to buy a stake in the west London transport hub.

Ferrovial, a Spanish infrastructure company, reached an agreement two months ago to sell its 25 per cent stake for $3 billion to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Ardian, a French-based private equity firm.

That deal remains in force, but it is a condition of the sale that the other shares are also sold, Ferrovial said in statement quoted by Bloomberg.

The so-called “tag along rights” entitle other investors in the airport to sell their shares at the same price as Ferrovial.

Shareholders accounting for an added 35 per cent of Heathrow’s parent company plan to join Ferrovial in the stake sale, the Spanish infrastructure firm said.

The announcement means that more than half of the ownership interest in Europe's busiest airport is set to change hands in the coming months.

The PIF was originally set to buy a 10 per cent stake in Heathrow’s parent, and Ardian to take a 15 per cent stake, for a total of £2.37 billion ($3 billion).

The Saudi Arabian wealth fund intends to stay at 10 per cent while Ardian is considering buying more, according to reports.

Qatar Investment Authority currently owns a 20 per cent stake in Heathrow.

Other investors include Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Singapore’s GIC sovereign wealth fund, and Alinda Capital Partners of the US.

Representatives for Ferrovial and Heathrow declined to identify potential buyers. Ardian and PIF declined to comment.

Earlier this month, Heathrow bosses said the air terminal recorded its busiest ever December, with 6.7 million passengers.

Heathrow also announced that passenger numbers grew by 29 per cent last year to reach 79.2 million.

Across the year as a whole, the market with the biggest increase in passenger numbers was Asia/Pacific, up 76 per cent compared with 2022.

Updated: January 17, 2024, 6:39 AM