Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. has sold Stansted Airport, the fourth busiest airport in the United Kingdom, to Manchester Airports Group for 1.5 million pounds.
Manchester Airports Group already operates Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports. The sale is expected to close in February.
"Stansted Airport and its people have been part of our company for a long time," Heathrow’s chief executive, Colin Matthews, said in a statement. “We wish the new owners every success and are confident the airport will continue to flourish. We will continue to focus on improving Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports."
MAG won the bid for Stansted, with the help of investor Industry Funds Management, in what it called “a transparent and highly competitive process.” IFM will take a 35.5 percent stake in the group. According to a MAG press release, the group has a detailed integration plan that will ensure a seamless transition between owners.
“MAG has a strong track record of creating shareholder value through strategic investment and enhancing operations to improve customer service and drive increased passenger numbers. We will use that expertise at Stansted to ensure that the airport can fulfill its potential as a high-quality alternative London access point for global air travelers. Stansted has scope to benefit from significant volume growth over the short, medium and long term,” Charlie Cornish, MAG’s chief executive, said in a statement.
Stansted finished December with 17,291 tons of cargo for the month, a 5.9-percent year-over-year increase. For 2012, Stansted officials routed 214,689 tons of cargo routed through the airport, a 5.3-percent bump over 2011. The airport stood as the second best cargo airport in the operator’s system by a wide margin, but was dwarfed by Heathrow Airport’s cargo totals.
Heathrow Airports, formerly the British Airports Authority, now owns and operates Heathrow, Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow. The once-massive airport company has been slowly selling off its holdings due to a ruling by the U.K. Competition Commission in 2009; to comply with the ruling, the company sold Edinburgh Airport in April and Gatwick Airport in 2009. - Jon Ross