Bidding for Edinburgh Airport will begin today (February 13), with five parties expected to make an offer to buy Scotland’s largest gateway.
First-round bids will be entered today with the five interested parties reported to include Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) – which bought Gatwick from BAA in 2009 and also owns London City Airport – as well as a consortium led by private equity group 3i and another headed by America’s Carlyle Group.
JP Morgan is also slated to be interested in buying the airport while other bidders are reported to include foreign airport operators Fraport and Aéroports de Paris.
In October last year BAA, which is owned by the Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, announced that it would sell Edinburgh Airport rather than Glasgow, following the Competition Commission’s ruling that it must sell one of its Scottish gateways.
At the time a spokesperson for BAA said that the decision had been "extremely difficult" but that Edinburgh was the "stronger, more resilient asset" which would be more attractive to potential buyers.
Colin Matthews, CEO at BAA, said: "We remain committed to Scotland and we will continue our long-term investment to improve passenger and airline experience at Aberdeen and Glasgow, as well as at Edinburgh until the sale is complete."
In 2009, the Competition Commission ruled that BAA had too much of a monopoly, and that it must therefore divest some of its assets by selling three of its then seven UK airports. BAA currently owns Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports in Scotland, as well as Heathrow, Southampton and Stansted in England.
The operator sold Gatwick Airport in 2009 for €1.65 billion. It has also been told to sell London Stansted Airport. Meanwhile, BAA sold its stake in Naples Airport on October 2 for €150m.
Once indicative offers for the sale are in, due diligence by shortlisted bidders could start within weeks.
In 2011, Edinburgh Airport reported €52.4 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, and could be sold for between £500 million (€597m) and £600 million (€715m), according to analysts.
Just last month BAA had its latest appeal to quash the Competition Commission’s ruling on the sale of Stansted dismissed by the courts.
The operator has not yet said whether it plans to appeal that decision.