BAA's investors to share £240m windfall from London airports


The owner of Heathrow and Stansted has been accused of "profiteering" after setting out plans to pay its foreign shareholders a £240m dividend this year.

BAA (SP) Ltd, which runs the two London airports as well as the Heathrow Express train line, said the payout would be "set initially" at £60m per quarter to shareholders this year. That is the first windfall for investors since 2006, when BAA was acquired by a consortium led by the Spanish construction group Ferrovial for £10.3bn. The dividend plans mean Ferrovial – which now has a 49.99 per cent stake in BAA after a share sale last year – can expect to pocket some £120m this year. The investors sharing the remaining £120m are the Canadian pension fund CDPQ, which owns 26.5 per cent, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC, with 17.65 per cent, and the US infrastructure group Alinda Capital Partners, which owns 5.88 per cent.

However Ryanair hit back that the windfall had been paid by BAA "overcharging" passengers, with the carrier demanding the immediate sale of Stansted, which BAA has been ordered to offload by the Competition Commission.

The airline said: "Over the past five years BAA has doubled its charges to airlines at Stansted, and is generating excess profits which it is now distributing to shareholders. However, during this five-year period, traffic at Stansted has collapsed from over 24 million in 2007 to just over 18 million in 2011."

BAA has admitted that passenger numbers at Stansted during 2011 will be 3.1 per cent below the previous year at 17.3 million. That's partly thanks to airlines including Ryanair, easyJet and Air Berlin cutting routes at the airport.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara added: "BAA is further enriching its Spanish shareholders while it strangles London traffic, tourism and jobs... BAA is an abusive airport monopoly which has engaged in significant overcharging and monopoly profiteering at Stansted."

BAA said of its dividend plans: "Payments will reflect BAA's ability to continue to access stable financial markets to finance its substantial ongoing capital investment programme at Heathrow. [BAA] expects to spend well over £1bn on Heathrow's capital investment programme during 2012, particularly accelerating activity on construction of the new Terminal 2."

Heathrow handled 5.2 million passengers in November, a drop of 0.5 per cent on the same month last year.

BAA is appealing against the CC's ruling in 2009 that it must sell Stansted. BAA declined to comment on the "profiteering claims.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home