Italian infrastructure fund F2i (Fondi italiani per le infrastrutture) has bought a 29.75% stake in SEA-Aeroporti di Milano for €385 million.
The fund now owns almost a third of SEA-Aeroporti di Milano – which operates Milan's Malpensa and Linate airports – and handled 27 million passengers in 2010.
The operator has a market share in Italy of around 20% of passenger traffic and is the second largest Italian airport system company, with proceeds of €434 million and a gross operating margin of €117 million in the first nine months of 2011.
The deal means F2i has strengthened its presence in airport infrastructure within Italy, as its portfolio already owns 70% of GESAC, the management company of Naples International Airport.
According to Reuters, F2i’s bid beat a higher €425 million offer from Indian group SREI infrastructure fund, which was judged to have deposited its bid after the deadline.
SEA, which sold its 5% stake in Naples Airport earlier last year, also holds a 30.98% share Bergamo Airport in Italy and has a 10% stake in Argentinean airport operator, Aeropuertos Argentina 2000.
Speaking to Airport World magazine in June 2011, the operator said it was not actively looking to expand its global airport portfolio.
At the time there had been mounting press speculation in Italy that SEA would hold an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to sell up to 49% of its shares by the end of 2011. This sale was expected to generate around €450 million for the city of Milan.