Airports operator sells duty free shops

Airports operator BAA today announced the sale of its World Duty Free business in a deal worth £546.6m.









The chain of 58 shops, based at airports including Heathrow and Gatwick, has been bought by Italy's Autogrill, the operator of 5,200 outlets in more than 1,100 locations.



The disposal will help reduce the £9bn of debt taken on by Spain's Ferrovial to fund its £10bn purchase of BAA 18 months ago.













Ferrovial's hopes of quickly refinancing the debt have been dashed by the credit crunch, while it has also been hit by increased security costs.



BAA will learn tomorrow what return on investment the regulator will allow it to make at Heathrow and Gatwick. The Civil Aviation Authority is expected to limit BAA's rate of return to 6.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively, compared with the firm's submission proposing a rate of 7.75 per cent.



There has also been speculation that the Competition Commission's imminent "emerging thinking" document will recommend a partial break-up of the group.



Today's deal will see World Duty Free take on a 12-year agreement for the operation of duty-free operations at BAA's seven UK sites, which also include Southampton, Stansted, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports.



Autogrill - majority owned by the Benetton family - has recently bolstered its position as the world's biggest provider of retail services for travellers.



Last year, it acquired Alpha Airports, a UK-based firm with operations at Manchester Airport and contracts to provide 100 airlines with in-flight food and retail services.



The company also said today that it had bought the remaining 49.9 per cent stake of Aldessa, a Spanish firm with 273 shops in 44 airports and 50 museums worldwide.



Gilberto Benetton, chairman of Autogrill, described the transactions as "a further milestone" in the growth of the group.



He added: "In 1995 Autogrill was an Italian food and beverage motorway company with sales of approximately €800m (£610m). Today our group is the global service provider for travellers with a presence in 42 countries and sales of approximately €6bn (£4.58bn)."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?