Balfour Beatty and Rigby Group announced (26-Jun-2013) the sale of its interest in Exeter Airport to Patriot Aerospace, the aviation division of Rigby Group, for an undisclosed sum. Balfour Beatty said the carrying value of the group’s investment had been written down to nil in 2012 and the proceeds from the sale will be used to repay the funders. Rigby Group said the airport assets of the group will sit alongside the flying activities now consolidated under the ‘British International Helicopters’ name following the recent acquisition of this company and the divisionalisation of its other existing helicopter operating businesses. Rigby Group chairman Sir Peter Rigby Sir Peter said the airport's existing 40 routes would be protected and he would look to add new ones. He said he wanted to work with Exeter's main carrier Flybe and also wanted to encourage other airlines to operate to/from the airport. The company already owns Coventry Airport, British International Helicopters and a number of hotels. Balfour Beatty’s Regional & City Airports consortium paid GBP60 million which it acquired the airport from Devon County Council in Jan-2007. The following comments were made on the occasion of the acquisition:
- Balfour Beatty: CEO Andrew McNaughton said: "We are pleased to have come to an arrangement with our JV partner and the funders that ensures the future viability of the airport for its staff and the local community it serves.”
- Rigby Group: Chairman Sir Peter Rigby said: "We now intend to consolidate both of these opportunities with a view to being a leading group in the sectors of regional airports and helicopter operations";
- Exeter Airport: MD Matt Roach said the sale was “a really positive development" for its employees, commenting: "We have a new owner that believes in the success of the airport, and for the staff that’s really positive. The Rigby Group have a passion for aviation so it’s a really good partnership to build on the existing strengths of the airport and further develop it in the future"
- Flybe: Flybe UK MD Andrew Strong commented: “Flybe welcomes the sale of Exeter airport to the Rigby Group PLC and looks forward to working with the new owners to develop services from Exeter and improve the passenger experience at the airport. Given the recent fare increases at Bristol airport, Exeter should be able to capitalise on its position as the premier airport in the South West and the next few years at the airport look set to be an exciting period.” [more - original PR - Balfour Beatty] [more - original PR - Rigby Group]