TBI buys Belfast airport

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The Independent Online
TBI, the property group which owns Cardiff Airport, yesterday announced it was adding Belfast International Airport to its portfolio in a pounds 100m deal. The shares and cash acquisition will be part financed through a pounds 19.6m vendor placing of TBI's shares at 70p. The shares added 1p to 73.5p yesterday.

The acquisition follows the blocking of plans by Belfast International to buy its rival, Belfast City Airport, earlier this year after an investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Keith Brooks, TBI's chief executive, said he was unconcerned by the new outbreak of unrest in the province. "We have never programmed in any peace dividend. Over the past 10 years, passenger numbers have grown by 80 per cent regardless of whether there has been an outbreak of troubles."

Belfast International Airport is said to be one of the largest regional airports in the UK, handling 2.4 million passengers in the year to March. One of the attractions of the deal is the development potential of the airport's 200 acre site.

Management and employees who backed the buy-out of the company from the Government in 1994 will share in the pounds 72.4m being paid for the share capital, of which pounds 37.3m will be satisfied in cash and the remainder through the issue of TBI shares. Underlying operating profits grew from pounds 5.3m to pounds 8.2m in the year to March.

Separately, TBI announced that its profits had soared from pounds 4.13m to pounds 10.1m in the same period. Cardiff Airport saw its profits rise from pounds 3.2m to pounds 5.2m.