France’s Vinci to buy majority stake in London’s Gatwick

Gatwick “operates the busiest single runway in the world.” (File/AFP)
Updated 27 December 2018

France’s Vinci to buy majority stake in London’s Gatwick

  • Vinci said it would hold a 50.01-percent stake in Gatwick, which is Europe’s eight biggest airport
  • With the latest acquisition, Vinci Airports will control 46 airports in 12 countries with a total traffic of 228 million passengers a year

PARIS: France’s Vinci Airports on Thursday sealed a deal to acquire a majority share in London’s Gatwick airport, Britain’s second biggest, for 2.9 billion pounds (3.22 billion euros, $3.67 billion).
Vinci said it would hold a 50.01-percent stake in Gatwick, which is Europe’s eight biggest airport with a total passenger traffic of 45.7 million in 2018, by the first half of next year.
The other 49.99 percent will be held by Global Infrastructure Partners, the current owners.
Gatwick was forced to close its only runway repeatedly between last Wednesday and Friday due to reports of mystery drone sightings nearby, impacting nearly 140,000 passengers.
“The transaction represents a rare opportunity to acquire an airport of such size and quality and fits extremely well with Vinci Concessions’ long-term investment horizon,” a company statement said.
Gatwick “operates the busiest single runway in the world. In 2017, it hit a world record of 950 flights in a day. The airport constantly innovates in all areas of operations (for example passenger self-baggage drop, aircraft queing systems, parking products) and reaches very high level of operational efficiency,” the statement said.
“The whole Vinci Airports network will benefit from Gatwick Airport’s world-class management and operational excellence, which has allowed it to deliver strong and steady growth in a very constrained environment,” Nicolas Notebaert, Vinci Airports chief said.
With the latest acquisition, Vinci Airports will control 46 airports in 12 countries with a total traffic of 228 million passengers a year.
The French firm recently acquired airports in Brazil, Japan and Serbia.


Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

Updated 16 September 2019

Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

  • The Houthi attacks hit two Aramco sites and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the US was ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to the attacks

HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world’s top producer by half, fueling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.
Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business — the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent — while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.
Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.
The attack by Tehran-backed Houthi militia in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump said Sunday the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran.
“Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Trump authorized the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.
But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world’s biggest producer.
Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region.
“One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week’s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton’s sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.