MIRA buys executive-focused Farnborough Airport

30 September 2019 - 12:00 am UTC

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) has added to its UK airport portfolio with the acquisition of Farnborough Airport (pictured) near London from the family business Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG).


MIRA, which already co-owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton Airports with Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, did not disclose a fee for the transaction. A source close to the process said that Farnborough’s most recent annual EBITDA was in excess of GBP 30m and that the multiple paid for Farnborough was in line with recent UK airport deals. 


Recent multiples paid for UK airports include the 20 times EBITDA France’s VINCI Airports paid for a majority stake in Gatwick Airport, the high teens multiple Ardian paid for a Luton Airport stake and the just under 20 times AMP Capital paid for Leeds-Bradford Airport.


MIRA declined to comment on the price and TAG referred a request for comment to MIRA.


MIRA said Farnborough handles more than 30,000 air traffic movements a year. Although this is much lower than the combined traffic of nearly 15m for MIRA’s other UK airports in 2018, Farnborough focuses on executive passengers means its earnings are higher than those of Aberdeen and Southampton. 


TAG, which was established by Saudi businessman in 1977, also has private jet facilities in Geneva and Sion in Switzerland and in Macau. 


It also has other aviation-related operations including aircraft management services and is involved in other sectors including watches, having in the 1980s acquired Switzerland’s Heuer to create TAG Heuer.


MIRA is acquiring Farnborough through its Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 6, which launched last year.  


Other recent UK acquisitions through MEIF 6 include KCOM, operator of the telecom network in Hull, Yorkshire. 


MIRA’s stakes in the other airports, collectively known as AGS Airports, are held in MEIF 4. 


AGS Airports in recently filed accounts for 2018 reported adjusted EBITDA of GBP 97m for the year, up from GBP 91m in 2017, on revenue up to GBP 213m from GBP 209m. 


Passenger numbers were slightly down at all airports, but AGS said its was offset by higher retail and car parking revenue. 


AGS said traffic was down 7.5% in the first four months of 2019 due to Ryanair flight reductions at Glasgow and Flybe reductions at Southampton.


MIRA’s purchase of Farnborough comes after fellow infrastructure investor Ancala earlier this month announced the purchase of a stake in Liverpool Airport for an undisclosed fee. 


Shearman & Sterling (legal) advised MIRA on the Farnborough acquisition. JP Morgan and PwC (financial) and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Trowers & Hamlins (legal) advised TAG on the sale.


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