Peel and Liverpool City Council sell 45% stake in Liverpool Airport

Deal sees London-based infrastructure investment manager Ancala buy a 35% stake in the airport from Peel and 10% from the council. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool John Lennon Airport, passengers


Peel Group and Liverpool City Council have sold a 45% stake in Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) to infrastructure investment manager Ancala Partners.

The deal sees London-based Ancala buy a 35% stake in the airport from Peel and 10% from the council. Peel and the council retain 45% and 10% interests respectively. The value of the transaction was not revealed but Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson told the full council on Wednesday evening that the city made £19m from the sale – a big profit on its original investment of £2m.

LJLA is the UK’s 12th busiest airport, handling more than 5m passengers in 2018. In July 2019, the airport was awarded the UK’s only five-star airport rating for flight punctuality. Ancala says it believes LJLA is ideally placed to serve the regional economy and has outstanding potential for growth.

It says it is confident LJLA can attract further capacity from new and existing carriers and building on its non-aeronautical services offering including commercial, retail and car parking.

Spence Clunie, senior partner at Ancala, said: “Transport infrastructure is a highly promising segment of the market, so we are delighted to be acquiring a stake on behalf of our investors in such a prestigious regional airport. LJLA has already seen substantial growth in recent years and we see strong prospects for this continuing.

“We look forward to growing our partnership with the Peel Group, with whom we have a strong track record of creating value in infrastructure assets. Our aim is to work with Peel to make LJLA the first choice for passengers across the region, delivering new routes and services.”

In March 2018, LJLA announced its £100m Strategic Vision to 2030, which included plans to serve more destinations and to increase passenger numbers to 8m a year. It included an expansion of the terminal building; additional car parking and passenger facilities, including hotels, retail, food and drink services.

Steven Underwood, chief executive of Peel Group, added: “The successful track record we share with Ancala was a key factor in selecting them as our partner for LJLA.

“By building on the airport’s already exceptional operational standards and passenger experience, we aim to be best in class in all respects and to deliver increased  value for all our stakeholders.”

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