France’s Groupe ADP has signed a share purchase agreement for the acquisition of a 49% stake in GMR Airports, representing investment of INR107.8 billion (USD1.5 billion). The deal came out of the blue, as one had already been agreed with a consortium led by India’s Tata Group.
Groupe ADP, which operates the two main Paris airports, as well as associated infrastructure in the French capital and airports and terminals around the world, reported a very positive FY2019, with revenue increasing by 17.3% and EBITDA by 5.5%.
Phase one of the acquisition will be completed "within the coming days" (the announcement was made on 19-Feb-2020), for a 24.99% stake, and the second phase, for a further 24.01%, is to be concluded in the coming months and is subject to certain regulatory conditions: notably, obtaining the customary regulatory approvals – in particular, from the Reserve Bank of India.
In terms of passenger numbers, the combined entity is claimed to be the biggest airport operator in the world, with 336 million passengers in 2019.
But is it really ‘global’, as it claims to be? And what potential dangers yet lurk for either party?