1 August 2014

Ryanair prefers pension fund bid for Stansted airport

10:20, Bloomberg News

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary has said he would rather London Stansted airport, his company's biggest base, was sold to an investment fund than an industry player such as Manchester Airports Group.

"It would be better for Ryanair if it was owned by one of the big pension funds," O'Leary said. "I think ultimately they will be the ones we'll be most likely to work with."

Last month, Ryanair dropped an offer to buy 25 per cent of Stansted as part of a wider bid group, saying it had been barred from the process by Spanish builder Ferrovial, the biggest shareholder in BAA Ltd, which runs the airport.

Manchester Airports has said it is interested in buying Stansted. Other possible bidders include New Zealand pension fund Infratil, Australia's Macquarie Group and Texas-based private equity firm, TPG Capital.

"Manchester Airport would not be a good buyer because they're just another airport-monopoly mentality," O'Leary said. "I think one of the big pension funds - Infratil or Macquarie - would be better. They'd take a longer view."

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