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Ferrovial sells airport to help reduce debt

Ferrovial, the family-controlled infrastructure firm, announced 2 November that it has sold one of its airport holdings, Swissport International AG, to private equity firm PAI Partners for €654 million.

Swissport is the world's leading passenger and cargo handling company, and has an enterprise value of approximately €888 million, according to Ferrovial.

"Swissport's good results and track record have attracted investors interest, offering an opportunity to execute this transaction as part of our asset rotation strategy," said Íñigo Meirás, non-family CEO of Ferrovial. "The proceeds from the Swissport sale will be invested in new infrastructure and services projects."

The sale, which is expected to be completed towards the end of this year, is the latest attempt by the Madrid-based company to reduce its huge debt pile, which stood at €20.5 billion when the company reported its third quarter results last week. (Continue reading here)

Ferrovial purchased the airport group in 2005 for €646 million and a year later also took over the UK-based airport operator BAA in a deal worth €10.3 billion, both contributing to Ferrovial's massive debt. The company has already sold assets, including its Chilean toll road business, and is also looking to offload a 10% share in BAA.

Rafael del Pino (pictured) founded Ferrovial in 1952, which is now one of Spain's largest companies with 2009 revenues of €12 billion and is still 44% owned by the family. Rafael was chairman until his death last year when he was succeeded by his son Rafael Jr. 

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