Macquarie Group may sell its stake in Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport has enjoyed passenger growth each year since the end of 2009 (Source: Getty Images)
Bristol Airport, the ninth-busiest airport in the UK, may be changing ownership again soon as the Australian bank Macquarie Group is believed to be looking to sell its 50 per cent stake in the airport.

Macquarie first bought Bristol Airport from owners FirstGroup and Bristol City Council in 2001 for £198m, together with Cintra, part of the Spanish Ferrovial group, before Macquarie also bought Ferrovial’s stake in 2006.

However, the large Australian bank is believed to now be considered selling its stake, currently owned by Macquarie’s European Infrastructure Fund. It could be worth between £200m to £250m, according to the Sunday Times.

The possible sale may attract interest from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which already owns a 49 per cent stake in Bristol Airport, and also has a stake in Birmingham Airport, the High Speed 1 rail network running between London and the Channel Tunnel, and Camelot Group, the operator of the National Lottery in the UK .

Previously the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan had already acquired an increased stake in Bristol Airport from Macquarie for £128m, in 2009 , and had also bought its stake in Birmingham Airport from Macquarie for £420m in 2007.

The remaining one per cent stake in Bristol Airport is currently owned by Sydney Airport.

Bristol Airport saw its passenger numbers increase to 6.1m in 2013, a 3.4 per cent increase on passenger numbers in 2012, and is the only UK airport in the UK’s top ten airports to have passenger growth each year since the end of 2009.

The airport, founded in 1930, currently offers direct flights to over 100 destinations, with airlines including Aer Lingus, EasyJet, Ryanair and KLM.

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