Shareholders bale out of airport operator

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The Independent Online

Leading shareholders in TBI, the regional airports operator, have lost faith in the company's management and are looking to sell out.

Leading shareholders in TBI, the regional airports operator, have lost faith in the company's management and are looking to sell out.

It is understood that institutional investors will this week urge TBI's board to consider sensible offers for the company, after it rebuffed a £503m bid last week.

Vinci, a French construction group, offered 90p-a-share for TBI, which was immediately dismissed by TBI as "opportunistic". But Vinci is expected to come back with a revised offer and TBI and its board will have to rely on its institutional shareholders for backing.

TBI owns Luton, Belfast and Cardiff airports. But despite the growth in air travel, the company has disappointed the City. In August, TBI issued its third profits warning in 18 month.

Stanley Thomas, TBI's non-executive chairman, and his brother Peter, are TBI's largest shareholders.

Phillips & Drew, TBI's largest institutional shareholder, has gradually increased its holding in TBI over the last two years.

Harinder Sandhu, fund manager at P&D, refused to comment on TBI's management, but said: "TBI has good assets which at 90p-a-share do not reflect its strategic value. Other bids should emerge and P&D will review all the options."

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