Monday, June 28, 2010

Peel Sell Off Regional Airport Assets

Canadian Interests Buy into Liverpool, Durham and Doncaster/Sheffield
Shipping News Feature

UK – After our article in February on the demise of the freight traffic from Britain’s regional airports come the news that The Peel Group have sold most of the assets of Peel Airports to Canadian based group Vancouver Airport Services (VAS). VAS has a record of investment in airports worldwide and, as in the case with this new acquisition, normally shares the burden of development with local interests and expertise; in this case Peel, who will retain a 35% slice.

Peel Airports control several regional airports, including owning outright Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, whilst having a 75% share of Durham Tees Valley, the balance being in council hands. Since plans for the ambitious Skylink project were quietly dropped some months ago there has been no news of further plans to increase freight movements through Durham but Peel still claim they will hit a total of 270,000 tonnes of cargo through the other two airports by 2014.

The VAS portfolio includes shares in 16 airports worldwide but, as is usual, most traffic is generated by passengers, 28.5 million last year, particularly as many of VAS’s traditional destinations are tourist orientated (Bahamas, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Jamaica etc.). Local interests, particularly in Durham, will hope this new investment means plans to encourage more shipping interests to use the facilities will be actively pursued.

Peel are no strangers to this type of deal. In 2006 they sold a reported 49% share of Peel Ports to RREEF, the real estate investment arm of Deutsche Bank.