Winner of City Airport auction set to be named

 
Billy Bambrough
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The airport has proven to be a hugely successful investment for previous owners Irish entrepreneur Dermot Desmond and GIP (Source: Getty)

The sale of City Airport to one of four groups of bidders could be announced as soon as this week.

Four groups of bidders are currently in the race to secure the east London airport, which has an expected price tag of over £2bn.

A pension fund consortium that includes PSP Investments, money manager for the Canadian armed forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, put in a final bid on Friday, the Sunday Times reported.

A rival pension group has also reportedly lodged an offer.

A third offer has come from Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, the company controlled by China’s richest man Li Ka-shing, and another from Chinese aviation and shipping conglomerate HNA.

The current owners of the airport, US private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), declined to comment.

The airport has proven to be a hugely successful investment for previous owners Irish entrepreneur Dermot Desmond and GIP.

Desmond acquired the airport for £23.5m in 1995, selling it on to GIP for £750m in 2006.

Last week the airport’s three major airlines, IAG owned British Airways, CityJet, and Flybe which run 70 per cent of its flights, warned bidders that they would pull their business from the airport if fees were increased.

An investigation commissioned by BA and CityJet showed that fees would likely be raised should the airport fetch its £2bn asking price. The price tag has been dubbed “foolish” by IAG boss Willie Walsh,

City Airport has doubled passenger numbers over the past decade, hitting 4.2m last year.

It is currently appealing a decision by mayor Boris Johnson to block its expansion plans.

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