Bridgepoint secures Leeds-Bradford Airport

The European buyout firm fended off several bidders to secure the purchase of the UK airport for £145m.

European private equity firm Bridgepoint has bought Leeds Bradford International Airport from five West Yorkshire councils for £145.5 million ($289 million; €222 million).

Bridgepoint will implement a £70 million capital expenditure plan to provide additional terminal capacity to allow the airport to double passengers to seven million by 2015. The buyout firm will also expand the route network to increase the number of destinations the airport flies to.

Bridgepoint is believed to have fended off competition from five other bidders, including ABN AMRO Infrastructure, Abertis’ TBI and Barclays Private Equity’s infrastructure fund in a joint bid with Churchill Airports and Regional and City Airports. City sources claimed Barclays came a very close second.

James Murray, from Bridgepoint, said: “We are paying a good price for this airport in line with multiples of recent similar deals. It is an under-developed, under-exploited asset which can be brought up to the same level as regional airports generally. It has two and half million passengers a year, which is well below that of regional airports generally.”

Bridgepoint’s previous investments in the sector include the 1997 acquisition of a 24 percent stake in Birmingham International Airport. The firm sold its stake to Australian bank Macquarie in 2001 for £84 million.