Nov 29, 2023 - Business

Saudi Arabia buys into London's Heathrow Airport

Photo from U.K. airport

Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images).

Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial has agreed to sell its 25% stake in London's Heathrow Airport for £2.37 billion to private equity firm Ardian and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

Why it matters: Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports, with passenger volume recently surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Details: Ferrovial has been slowly selling off its Heathrow position since acquiring a 56% stake in 2006, including via sales to a Qatari sovereign fund in 2012 and to a U.K. pension system in 2013. It continues to own several other U.K. airports.

  • Ardian would hold a 15% stake in Heathrow, while Saudi PIF would get 10%.

The bottom line: The airport is currently unprofitable, partially because of a large debt load in a higher-rate environment. And things might get worse before they get better, as Heathrow has been forced by British regulators to cut its airline fees beginning in 2024.

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