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Saudi Arabia to buy 10% stake in Heathrow

A 10% stake in Heathrow Airport is to be sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (Steve Parsons/PA)
A 10% stake in Heathrow Airport is to be sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (Steve Parsons/PA)

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to buy a 10% stake in Heathrow Airport.

Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial has announced it will sell its 25% share in Europe’s busiest airport to the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and to French firm Ardian, which will secure a 15% stake.

Ferrovial has been the airport’s largest shareholder since 2006 and said it will gain almost £2.4 billion from the holding.

It comes after reports last year that the investor had sought to offload its stake following the sharp recovery in traveller numbers.

Last month, seven million passengers travelled through the west London airport, up 19% on the same month last year.

The completion of the stake sale is subject to regulatory approval.

The Saudi PIF would become the latest sovereign wealth fund to own a share in the airport, joining the Qatar Investment Authority, which is already a stakeholder in Heathrow parent company FGP Topco.

The PIF, which has invested in other transport sites, technology firms and sports teams such as Newcastle United, has more than 700 billion US dollars in assets.

It is controlled by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, whose government has been subject to accusations over human rights violations.

Luke Bugeja, chief executive of Ferrovial Airports, said: “Over the last 17 years, we have been contributing to Heathrow’s transformation, together with our fellow shareholders, achieving some excellent milestones throughout our long-term role as investor.

“These include overseeing an investment of £12 billion, expanding its capacity with the construction of Terminal 2, and improving its operational performance.

“We are very pleased to have made Heathrow one of the world’s most connected airports and the busiest airport in Europe.”