Peel completes airport sale to Canadian firm

After months of speculation, Vancouver Airport Services has taken a controlling stake in loss-making Peel Airports with the acquisition of a 65% stake.

Peel Airports includes Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield and Durham Tees Valley Airport. The price of the deal is understood to be £175m. Peel will retain a presence on the board. The airport property estate was not included in the deal.

George Casey, president and CEO of Vancouver Airport Services, commented: "Vancouver Airport Services has a strong track record of investing in and providing value-added management services for airports around the world. We look forward to working with The Peel Group and the stakeholders involved in these airports."

Peel Group chairman, John Whittaker, said: "We are delighted to move forward and partner with Vancouver Airport Services. Its network of international airports and expertise as a leading airport specialist will further increase the success of these growing regional airport businesses.

"The retention of a significant investment in the joint venture, together with our associated airport-related property, is firmly in line with our strategy of creating long term partnerships to unlock value from the relationship between our diverse infrastructure, transport and real estate assets."

Eversheds Manchester represented VAS and its funding partner Barclays Bank. Deloitte Manchester also advised VAS. Rothschild Manchester and Leeds represented Peel.

Mark Whitworth will step down from his role as Peel Airports CEO with immediate effect. He will assist VAS in a handover period of up to three months, in an advisory capacity. Whittaker said: "I would like to congratulate and thank Mark on behalf of Peel for delivering the planned strategy for Peel Airports and wish Mark every success in his next career challenge."

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