Hanwha Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. and NH Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. have acquired a combined 2.85% stake in London’s Gatwick Airport for around 280 billion won ($243 million) from a consortium led by the US-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).
The GIP-led consortium held a 49.99% stake in Gatwick, the UK’s second-busiest airport, after selling a controlling 50.01% to France’s Vinci Airports for 2.9 billion pounds ($3.7 billion) last December.
With the stake purchase, the two South Korean brokerage firms joined the consortium led by GIP which recently restructured the fund for the airport, according to investment banking sources on June 25.
At home, they are selling down the equity interests to Korean institutional investors.
Along with Hanwha and NH, California Public Employees’ Retirement System is considering buying a stake of about 10% in Gatwick, a few months after it sold its holding in the airport to Vinci Airports, the sources added.
The equity investment in the UK’s second-biggest airport by passenger number reflected growing interest in regulated assets generating a steady cash flow.
Further, the growth potential for air travel and transport outweighed concerns about impacts of Brexit.
Earlier this year, Korea Investment & Securities Co. Ltd. reportedly provided a mezzanine funding of 230 billion won to London’s Heathrow Airport for a target return of 4.7% per year.
The secured debt with a 12-year term was originated to fund a third runway construction at Heathrow and marked the first investment by South Korean institutions in the hub airport.