Reply To: Luton (or other airport) takeovers -right or wrong?

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Seen in TRAVEL WEEKLY dated 3 June 2013
“Luton airport faces takeover bid”

This article states that AENA (the Spanish State body controlling the airports) which has a 10% stake in Luton airport has first refusal and has agreed to take over the 90% remaining shareholding of ALBERTIS (a large Spanish conglomerate). Though not said in the article this will be TBI plc. which is the management company for the airport with a contract running to 2028.

My question is if AENA should be allowed to increase its stake? AENA runs almost all the Spanish airports(47?) and makes scandalously huge losses on them. The group is supported by its income in its investments in foreign airports and control of Spanish air navigation.

Would such a takeover mean that Britain is accepting there is no level playing field? (i.e. Can British companies take over Spanish airports?)
Would it not mean there would be a further creaming off of profits to satisfy cash-flow demands at home?

I do not think it too necessary to remind everybody that FERROVIAL (another massive Spanish conglomerate) took over BAA an inflated price the cost of which proved difficult to finance. It has subsequently been forced to sell off Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh airports by the competition authorities. FERROVIAL has also been forced to reduce its holding(by economic circumstances) in the resulting company, Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. to 33.65%.

My view is that the British government should step in to make sure that TBI Ltd and Luton airport do not suffer from under investment, which is precisely what happened with BAA plc in all its airports.

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