airport operator Wiggins Group is talking with three potential partners with a
view to selling a stake in London Manston Airport, in order to secure funds for
development of the company’s airports network.
declines to identify the organisations but says that discussions have followed
a number of approaches to the operator. While the company indicates that it
would sell around a 25% stake – probably to a continental European airport
management company – it adds that nothing is fixed.
company is gradually acquiring a network of secondary airports, mainly in
Europe and the USA, which it is operating under the PlaneStation brand. But
Wiggins executive director, corporate, Christopher Foster says that the company
needs additional funding to develop and is prepared to give up a stake in its
think [selling a stake] would be beneficial,” says Foster. “Airports cost a lot
of money, and we need money in order to have more in the network. It would
further our development if we could sell a stake in a unique airport.”
adds that the company’s preferred choice of partner would be another airport
group located in continental Europe.
is listed on the London stock exchange but its share price has fallen to just a
quarter of its value a year ago, prompting concerns over a possible hostile
takeover bid. The company made losses of £27 million last year.
ironic that – thanks to the stock market – Manston Airport is probably worth
more than the company,” says Foster. “There’s concern that someone might seek
to take over the whole company just to get their hands on Manston.”
has recently completed an £8 million ($12 million) modernisation programme to
improve its aprons and taxiways, part of a £22 million investment which has
seen the runway resurfaced and new air traffic control facilities put in place,
as well as the installation of an instrument landing system (ILS) and new
a freight airport, Manston is seen as a potential future passenger hub –
possibly for low-fare airlines – and is aiming to handle 4 million passengers