Leeds Bradford Airport has been sold to Australian investment firm AMP Capital, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.
The Sydney-based fund has agreed to acquire 100 per cent of the airport from current owners Bridgepoint Advisers Limited, which has owned the airport for the last decade.
A spokesperson for AMP Capital called the airport a “compelling investment” and said that it had chosen to purchase the site “due to its excellent location and strong growth prospects”.
AMP Capital has a worldwide presence and a track-record of investing in airports globally within its infrastructure portfolio for more than 20 years.
It currently owns Newcastle Airport as well as having a stake in Thames Water and Angel Trains.
Leeds Bradford Airport currently handles four million annual passengers annually.
Bridgepoint acquired the airport in 2007 for £181, having purchased it from the five councils of West Yorkshire who co-owned it.
Simon Ellis, Head of Origination, Europe at AMP Capital, said: “With its strong underlying fundamentals including freehold ownership with well-invested infrastructure, a diversified airline mix and its catchment area in an economic hub of the North of England, Leeds Bradford Airport is a highly attractive investment and a great fit for AMP Capital’s global infrastructure platform.
“We believe there is a clear opportunity for performance enhancement through tailoring and improving the customer experience and working collaboratively with our key partners including airlines, government and local businesses. In addition, the airport serves the Yorkshire and the Humber region, one of the fastest-growing regions in the UK with a population growth of 6 per cent since 2001 and there is also potential for further route development.
“AMP Capital’s heritage in transportation infrastructure investment and our experience of owning airports means we are well placed to develop the exciting opportunities presented by this investment.”
Michael Davy, Partner at Bridgepoint, said: “Over the past five years of Bridgepoint ownership, passenger numbers have grown by almost 40 per cent to over four million, c. £30 million has been invested in cap-ex projects including a terminal upgrade, employee numbers have grown from 200 to around 460, and EBITDA has grown by over 25 per cent per annum.”
The sale has been welcomed in the city.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “Leeds Bradford Airport is a key asset for the city and an important gateway to the wider Leeds City Region, so we are pleased to see that it has attracted investment from AMP Capital which has a global track record in airport development.
“We look forward to working with the new owner on the continued growth of the airport and building on the work undertaken by Bridgepoint so that it can fulfil its economic potential.”
Mark Goldstone, head of business representation and policy, said: “As a long standing supporter of Leeds Bradford Airport, the chamber is heartened by the expertise AMP Capital can bring to the region through this purchase. In order to contribute to national productivity Yorkshire has to be connected to world markets efficiently and as such the region needs an ‘outstanding airport’.
“AMP bring a proven track record of investing in transport infrastructure and as LBA and Leeds City Council, along with partners, look to develop much improved surface access I am sure this experience will be invaluable.
“Leeds Bradford Airport has huge potential to capture a much larger slice of regional air travel, especially business travel, and we welcome this investment and look forward to continuing our relations with the new owners.”