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BAA pulls out of Italy, focuses on UK

BAA pulls out of Italy, focuses on UK

Airport operator BAA has confirmed it is to pull out of the Italian market, following the sale of Naples International Airport.

In a deal worth €150 million, the property will be sold to an entity controlled by F2i SGR SpA, an Italian infrastructure fund, before the end of 2010.

The deal will allow BAA to focus on its British assets, which include London Heathrow and London Stansted airports.

BAA also owns Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southampton and Aberdeen airports.

BAA presently owns 65 per cent of GESAC SpA - which holds the concession for Naples International Airport until 2043.

UK Focus

Completion of the sale will bring to a conclusion A strategic refocusing at BAA’s, which has been moving interests away from non-core and international assets to its UK airports.

Since 2006, the company has sold Budapest Airport, its Australian airport interests, two tranches of the Airport Property Partnership (APP), World Duty Free and four US retail management contracts.

BAA also sold Gatwick Airport, following a decision by the Competition Commission which found its position could be monopolistic.

BAA chief executive officer Colin Matthews has refocused BAA on the UK

Colin Matthews, BAA’s chief executive officer, said: “Naples has been a significant part of the BAA group for many years.

“BAA’s substantial capital investment and improvement programme is now well established in Naples and is bearing fruit.

“Now is the right time for Naples International Airport to move ahead under new owners and for us to sharpen our focus on Heathrow and our other UK airports.

Some €13 million of the total price will be deferred for three years on an unconditional basis and fully backed by on demand bank letters of credit.

BAA may monetise the deferred consideration at or around closing.

The sale is conditional upon Italian competition clearance and the expiry or waiver of pre-emptive rights held by the City and the Province of Naples, which are the minority shareholders in GESAC SpA.

Completion of the sale is expected to occur before the end of 2010.