Airport purchase set to give town financial boost
10:24am Saturday 2nd March 2013 in Local
BOLTON Council hopes the acquisition of a major international airport by a company it part-owns will give it a much-needed financial boost.
A deal has now officially been signed by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) — which the council owns a stake in — to buy the country’s fourth busiest airport, Stansted.
MAG already owns and operates Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, but began a £1.5 billion move to acquire Stansted, in Essex, after its owner Heathrow Airport Holdings — formerly called BAA — was ordered to sell it by the Competition Commission.
MAG is owned by all 10 Greater Manchester authorities, with Manchester owning 55 per cent and the other nine councils, including Bolton, previously owning five per cent each.
That figure will now fall after MAG struck a deal to finance the move with Industry Funds Management (IFM), which will take a 35.5 per cent. The nine councils will each now have a 3.2 per cent stake.
Last year, Bolton received a £1 million dividend from its share, which was spent on community projects, and even though its stake will now be reduced, town hall bosses hope the size of MAG’s new operation will further boost its coffers.
Sean Harriss, Bolton Council chief executive, has been advising the nine minority shareholder councils on the sale and was part of the project team behind the deal.
He said: “The council is delighted the takeover has gone through and hope the medium-termsuccess of the merger will bring a much-needed increase in dividends in the future.”