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ABN Amro buys Belfast City Airport from Ferrovial

Spanish construction company Grupo Ferrovial SA, the owner of airport operator BAA, said Saturday it has sold Belfast City airport for 132.5 million pounds (US$234.3 million).

Agencies|
Sep 07, 2008, 12.58 AM IST
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LONDON: Spanish construction company Grupo Ferrovial SA, the owner of airport operator BAA, said Saturday it has sold Belfast City airport for 132.5 million pounds (US$234.3 million).

The company said in a statement that it sold the Northern Ireland airport to ABN Amro Global Infrastructure Fund, five years after it purchased the site, which handled 2.2 million passengers last year.

Britain's competition commission last month ordered BAA to sell three of its seven airports around the U.K. _ including two in London _ following fierce criticism of the company for poor customer service, overcrowding and long delays.

But the Belfast airport was not mentioned by the watchdog, because it is owned by Ferrovial directly rather than by BAA.

``The sale is the result of Ferrovial's strategy to focus its U.K. airport business within the BAA group,'' said Brian Ambrose, chief executive of the Belfast airport.

He said Ferrovial's capital gains from the sale of will be around 85.6 million pounds (US$151.4 million). The deal is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Belfast's airport was renamed George Best Belfast City Airport in 2006, in honor of former the Northern Ireland and Manchester United soccer star George Best who died in Nov. 2005.
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