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"Rumors flying of TBI sale"
Saturday, October 9, 2004
Rumours flying of TBI sale Oct 9 2004
By Rhodri Evans
United Kingdom - The Western Mail
WELSH airports group TBI saw its shares climb higher yesterday as the
company found itself at the centre of renewed speculation of a break-up or
A day after the company issued an encouraging set of passenger figures, a
report in The Daily Telegraph suggested that major shareholders were looking
for a break up of the group, which owns Cardiff, Belfast and Luton airports.
The report caused TBI shares to climb by around 10% before settling back
later in the day.
However, there was no statement from TBI during the day and TBI's chief
executive Keith Brooks has told the Telegraph, "I am not aware of any
pressure to change the way we are running the company."
It is not the first time TBI has been at the centre of rumours regarding its
future. In December last year the airports subsidiary of German construction
group Hochtief was 'considering the merits' of a bid.
But the company never made a formal approach and a month later announced
that it was no longer considering a potential bid.
French group Vinci went further in August 2001, when it tabled a 90p a share
takeover bid for TBI, valuing the business at £515m. But that bid was
rejected by TBI which, at the time, labelled the bid as 'opportunistic'.
Less than a month later the September 11 terrorist attacks put paid to any
takeover. However, a 10% stake held by Vinci in TBI recently changed hands.
Earlier this year Evolution Beeson Gregory placed the French construction
firm's shares in TBI with a number of institutional and other investors
including JO Hambro.
Cardiff stockbroker Claire Tidy of Brewin Dolphin yesterday warned that
rumours concerning the airports should be treated with caution.
"The share price rose by 10% during the morning on the back of rumours
regarding the potential sale of the company or a break up approach," she
said. "It may well be that these rumours are unfounded. There has been a lot
of speculation about TBI before but it has come to nothing."
Despite difficulties in the aviation industry TBI has outperformed its
peers. Earlier this week the company reported that total passenger numbers
in the six months to September 30 were up
8.9%. The company has also been boosted this week by the news that
Continental Airlines are to begin a direct service from Belfast to New
York's Newark airport.
TBI is currently engaged in selling its airports in Bolivia and its AGI
airport services group in the United States.
The group, 16% of which is owned by Cardiff millionaires Stan and Peter
Thomas, also owns the Hilton Hotel in Cardiff.
EVEN Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has been linked with TBI in recent
According to a report in The Guardian's business pages the Russian mogul
regularly flies in to Luton airport in his private jet - sparking an
interest in TBI from one of his companies.
However, the City rumour currently appears rather far-fetched.
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