TBI forced to fork out £6m fighting unwanted takeover

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The Independent Online

The airports operator TBI piled on the agony for its shareholders yesterday by disclosing that the failed bid from the French construction company Vinci had cost it £6m.

Keith Brooks, TBI's chief executive, said the bulk of the £6m consisted of fees paid to its two investment bank advisers, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Credit Lyonnais, even though the bid only lasted 27 days.

Mr Brooks sought to soften the blow by saying that he had negotiated a discount on their usual fees because the bid had not run the full 60 days. "These are the facts of life and they are the kind of sums investment banks ask you to pay," he added.

Vinci initially bid 90p a share, valuing the owner of Luton, Cardiff and Belfast airports at £516m, but then withdrew its offer after the 11 September attacks despite the TBI board changing its mind and recommending the bid. TBI shares closed at 58.5p last night.

Reporting a 50 per cent increase in interim profits to £21.4m, Mr Brooks said that total traffic at its UK airports was 9 per cent higher in October compared with the same month last year.

Mr Brooks also said that Belfast International had recovered from the blow of losing British Airways and part of BMI British Midland's services with traffic up 13 per cent since then.

Part of the growth at Belfast has come from low-cost carriers like Go, which took advantage of BA's withdrawal by increasing services from Stansted. Go yesterday reported a 51 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £16.9m for the six months to the end of September. It said passenger numbers in October were 76 per cent up on a year ago compared with a 31 per cent increase in capacity.

Turnover for the April to September period rose 44 per cent to £128m and passenger numbers grew by 41 per cent to more than 2 million. Barbara Cassani, Go's chief executive, added that 75 per cent of bookings were now by internet.