Heathrow Airport partners challenge Spanish company’s sale

Ferrovial's sales of Heathrow shares hits snag

Image of London Heathrow Airport. Credit: Ondrej Zabransky/Shutterstock.com

Heathrow Airport’s stakeholders have thrown a spanner into Spanish company Ferrovial’s plans to sell its 25 per cent stake.

Ferrovial’s partners at Heathrow Airport, who collectively own 35 per cent of the UK and Europe’s largest airport, have expressed their intent to exercise their right of accompaniment, which allows them to sell their shares under the same terms as Ferrovial.

The disagreement arises from Ferrovial’s November agreement with Ardian and The Public Investment Fund, the Saudi Arabian sovereign fund, to divest 15 per cent and 10 per cent of the airport infrastructure, respectively, for  €2.75 billion.

Ferrovial had previously disclosed the existence of the right of accompaniment, which has now been activated by undisclosed shareholders.

Among Heathrow’s partners are Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund 20 per cent; the Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, 12.62 per cent; Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, 11.2 per cent; North American fund Alinda Capital Partners, 11.18 per cent; China Investment Corporation (CIC), 10 per cent and the British pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme, 10 per cent.

Right of accompaniment puts sale in limbo

The right of accompaniment empowers minority shareholders to demand the sale of their shares simultaneously with the majority partner, Ferrovial in this case, and under the same conditions.

The presence of several shareholders eager to exit the airport project has led Ferrovial to inform regulators that ‘there is no certainty that the transaction will be closed.’

Despite this, the sale of 25 per cent of its Heathrow stake is still in progress, and ‘the parties are working on compliance with the conditions by analyzing different options.’

Ferrovial, aiming to debut on Wall Street, faces these challenges while finalising its US stock market entry. The company is set to ring the bell on the Nasdaq during the first quarter. However, its inclusion in any index is not currently planned.

Uncertainty over Heathrow sale

The dispute surrounding Heathrow Airport’s sale casts uncertainty over Ferrovial’s strategic plans and its ambition to enter the US stock market.

The right of accompaniment exercised by multiple shareholders complicates the transaction, leaving its outcome hanging in the balance.

Impact on Ferrovial’s Wall Street debut

Ferrovial’s debut on the Nasdaq, slated for the first quarter, may encounter turbulence as it grapples with the Heathrow Airport sale complexities.

The Spanish company’s move into the US stock market is closely watched, but the unresolved issues at Heathrow could affect its entry and future prospects.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.

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