Infratil, the Wellington-based infrastructure investor, has sold its unprofitable Glasgow Prestwick Airport to the Scottish government for 1 British pound (NZ$1.98).
The transaction was completed over the weekend and will see the airport transferred to TS Prestwick Holdco, an entity wholly-owned by the Scottish Ministers, for a cash consideration of 1 pound. The purchase price reflected the need for more investment, and the Scottish government is seeking a commercial partner to operate the airport on its behalf, it said in a statement yesterday.
"This acquisition secures continuity of service and we will now begin work with our local partners on developing our vision for the business so we can maximise its contribution to the local, regional and national economy," Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said. "As we stressed at the start of this process, Glasgow Prestwick Airport remains fully open for business and existing staff remain employed at the airport."
Infratil has now exited its two British airports, the other being last month's sale of the Manston Airport in Kent, in what it described earlier this month as "very poor" financial outcomes brought on by the global financial crisis.
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Chief executive Marko Bogoievski said the company's preference in selling the Glasgow Prestwick hub was to find a new owner with the capacity to support its future success.
"We believe that a Scottish government acquisition achieves that objective and Infratil is very pleased to have successfully completed the transaction," he said in a statement.
Infratil's shares fell 0.4 per cent to $2.43 yesterday, and have gained 7.1 per cent this year.