VINCI Airports Acquires Majority Stake in Edinburgh Airport

View across Edinburgh Airport
Photo Credit: VINCI Airports

VINCI Airports has announced a significant agreement to acquire a controlling 50.01% stake in Edinburgh Airport Limited, the company that owns Edinburgh Airport.

The deal, valued at £1.27 billion, strengthens VINCI’s position as a major player in the UK infrastructure market.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in summer 2024. Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the current owner since 2012, will retain a 49.99% stake and continue its partnership with VINCI Airports.

This collaboration builds upon their successful joint venture at London Gatwick Airport, acquired by VINCI in 2019.

Edinburgh Airport: A Strategic Hub

Edinburgh Airport boasts a successful track record. In 2023, it reported impressive revenue of £272 million and a robust EBITDA margin of 65%.

This key Scottish infrastructure perfectly aligns with VINCI Airports’ long-term strategy.

Following the acquisition, the current highly experienced management team will remain in place to further steer the airport.

Edinburgh Airport, Scotland’s largest and the UK’s sixth busiest, serves as a vital travel hub for the region. Strategically situated in the nation’s capital, it boasts excellent connectivity, catering to a catchment area of over 4 million people.

The airport flourishes as a key point of access for Edinburgh, the UK’s second-most prosperous city and a renowned tourist destination.

Passengers can explore over 150 destinations across 38 countries, thanks to strong relationships with airlines like easyJet, Ryanair, British Airways, and Jet2.

Edinburgh Airport is experiencing positive growth forecasts, particularly in long-haul travel, and is expected to fully recover pre-pandemic traffic levels by the end of 2024.

Notably, the airport benefits from freehold ownership, offering a secure and long-term asset for VINCI Airports’ investment portfolio.

Key Highlights of the Acquisition

After Belfast International in 2018 and London Gatwick in 2019, VINCI Airports now expands its network in the UK to three freehold airports. The company now operates more than 70 airports across the world.

Ad Meskens, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The majority stakeholding in Edinburgh Airport holds some key benefits.

  • Reinforces VINCI’s UK Presence

The UK is already VINCI’s second-largest operational market, generating nearly €6 billion in revenue in 2023. This acquisition further solidifies their position and leverages their experience at Belfast International and Gatwick airports.

  • Scotland’s Largest Airport

Strategically located in the nation’s capital, Edinburgh Airport serves a catchment area of over 4 million people. The city itself is the UK’s second-richest and a major tourist destination, with existing connections to over 150 destinations in 38 countries.

  • Promising Traffic Growth

Edinburgh Airport enjoys strong traffic fundamentals with positive forecasts, particularly for long-haul travel. A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels is expected by the end of 2024.

  • Freehold Ownership

Unlike concession-based airports, Edinburgh Airport offers freehold ownership with no time limit, making it a valuable addition to VINCI’s long-term investment portfolio.

A Collaboration for Continued Development

VINCI Airports plans to leverage its global expertise to further develop Edinburgh Airport. It will focus on both aeronautical and non-aeronautical aspects, particularly retail expansion and the addition of new routes.

They also aim to utilize their environmental knowledge to enhance the airport’s already impressive sustainability practices.

The existing, highly experienced management team at Edinburgh Airport will remain in place. The in-situ team will be welcomed into the VINCI Airports global network.

This acquisition signifies a significant step forward for VINCI Airports, solidifying its presence in the UK and securing a strategic asset with enormous potential for growth.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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