South Korean pension fund to up its Gatwick stake to 12 per cent

SOUTH Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) plans to increase its stake in Gatwick airport to 12 per cent.

The fund, which at $240bn (£150bn) is the fifth-largest pension vehicle in the world, wants to up its exposure to

Britain ahead of the London Olympics in 2012. Gatwick is seen as a growth asset which stands out from the UK’s slower-moving economy.

The Sussex-based airport was bought by private equity giant Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) from Spanish operator Ferrovial for £1.5bn last year. The NPS, which already owns a 1.3 per cent holding, would have to pay around £100m to crank up its share to 12 per cent.

It is understood the deal will go through next week and will be financed with bank debt accounting for 45 per cent of the price.

Jun Kwang-woo, NPS chairman, told the Financial Times: “In our investment strategy, for the time being and foreseeable future, we will look for possibilities to join forces with big international players.

“This is an opportunity for big financial players.”

GIP was unavailable for comment last night.