Manchester Airports Group: investing offshore as UK rivals step up

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Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is increasingly seeking investment opportunities in Eastern Europe and has confirmed its participation in the Bulgarian Government's tender process for the concession to operate Sofia Airport under a EUR4 billion 35-year concession. MAG had previously expressed interest in the proposed concession on Lithuanian Airports, a stalled procedure, and in the Belgrade Airport concession.

MAG's bid will be supported by the Chinese company Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG), which is a key member of the consortium building the Airport City at Manchester Airport, and which is itself expected to attract Chinese companies.

MAG is the only UK airport operator known to be showing any interest in investing in foreign airports at this time.

But slowing traffic at Manchester, noticeably more so than at other, peer airports, raises questions as to whether the MAG management should be paying more attention to local matters - or whether this is in fact a sound group strategy, designed to ensure group sustainability, as Brexit issues threaten growth.

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