Vinci buys 50.01% Edinburgh Airport stake for £1.27bn

New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to sell a 50.01% stake in Edinburgh Airport to France’s Vinci Airports for £1.27 billion.

The remaining 49.99% interest in Edinburgh Airport will continue to be managed by GIP, which agreed in January to be bought by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, in a deal worth $12.5 billion.

GIP bought Edinburgh Airport from BAA for £807 million in 2012.

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport and the sixth busiest airport in the UK, offering flights to more than 150 destinations across 40 airlines. Vinci Airports operates more than 70 airports in 13 countries.

“As part of the agreement, GIP and Vinci will jointly lead investment in, and development of, Edinburgh Airport and establish a long-term strategic partnership for the airport’s future development, similar to the successful partnership established in 2019 at Gatwick Airport,” said GIP.

Edinburgh Airport chairman John Elvidge and CEO Gordon Dewar will, along with other key leaders, remain in their roles.

“We are excited to partner with Vinci, with whom we have a strong and productive strategic relationship, to continue to support Edinburgh Airport’s future growth,” said Bayo Ogunlesi, Global Infrastructure Partners’ chairman and CEO.

“We remain committed to providing high-quality service to passengers. We are very pleased Vinci shares our vision of Edinburgh Airport’s future.”

Michael McGhee, Global Infrastructure Partners’ deputy chairman and founding partner, said: “This partnership underlines our commitment to Scotland and its capital city airport.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with Vinci to deliver on our shared aspirations for the future of Edinburgh Airport, including our promise to support the airport’s 2030 sustainability commitments.

“We are pleased the senior leadership team will remain in place under the chairmanship of John Elvidge. Their focus remains on the long-term growth, modernisation and sustainability of the airport and on continuing to improve passenger service.”

Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of Vinci Concessions and president of Vinci Airports, said: “We are delighted to announce the expansion of our successful and strategic partnership with GIP to include Edinburgh Airport.

“Together with GIP, Vinci Airports will continue the strategy of growing connectivity and developing commercial activities, whilst also leveraging Vinci Airport’s international expertise to accelerate decarbonization and continually improving customer experience.

“This acquisition of a third freehold airport in the UK, in addition to London Gatwick and Belfast International, demonstrates Vinci Airports’ long term strategic ambition and continued commitment to the country.”

GIP said that as part of the transaction, Crosswind Developments, which is promoting a major business and residential development adjacent to the airport, “will assume the same ownership structure as the airport.”

Crosswind Developments’ management team and strategy will remain, with chairman Steve Dunlop and CEO John Watson continuing in their respective roles.

The completion of the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions including regulatory and competition clearances in relevant jurisdictions. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2024.

A report from BiGGAR economics in 2020 found that Edinburgh Airport generated £1.4 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) and 28,000 jobs in the Scottish economy.

Vinci said Edinburgh Airport reported revenue of £272 million and an EBITDA margin of 65% in 2023.

“Edinburgh Airport is not a concession based asset but instead a freehold airport with no time limit,” said Vinci.

“It is therefore a particularly valuable addition to Vinci Airports’ portfolio, which has a long-term approach to investing in and operating assets.”

Edinburgh Airport chairman Elvidge said: “We are pleased to welcome Vinci Airports to Scotland and recognise that this is a significant vote of confidence in Scotland, and the future of its capital city airport.”

Edinburgh Airport CEO Dewar said: “We welcome and look forward to working with Vinci Airports and Global Infrastructure Partners, two of the world’s most respected airport investors and operators.

“The leadership team – which remains in place – is wholly committed to working with our investors to improve customer service, accelerate our decarbonisation plans and strengthen Scotland’s connectivity with the world, which ultimately drives the country’s international competitiveness and prosperity.

“I should thank the whole team at Edinburgh Airport for the contribution they have made to our success over the last 12 years since GIP acquired the airport and look forward to working with them to write a new, exciting chapter in the airport’s story.”

In Scotland, GIP is invested in Edinburgh Airport, Crosswind Developments, Scotland Gas Networks owner SGN and Clydeport owner Peel Ports.