Chinese investors accelerating overseas airport investments
A Chinese consortium is planning to turn France’s fourth largest airport - Aéroport Toulouse – Blagnac into a hub for Chinese visitors.
A Chinese consortium led by Hong Kong’s Friedman Pacific Asset Management is planning to turn France’s fourth largest airport - Aéroport Toulouse – Blagnac into a hub for Chinese visitors serving new air routes to Chinese destinations.
Friedman Pacific’s chairman Mike Poon told the Wall Street Journal on March 9 that the company planned to invest in three to five airports in Europe, Central America and Southeast Asia in the next three years to meet the demand of the rapidly growing Chinese outbound tourism market.
The consortium formed of Friedman Pacific, SDHS Group and Canada-based SNC-Lavalin in December 2014 has been selected to be the preferred bidder for 49.99% equity of Aéroport Toulouse – Blagnac. The remaining 50.01% equity of the airport will be held by the French government and French firms.
The 308 million euro transaction will be completed in the first half of this year, making it the biggest Chinese overseas airport investment so far.
An analyst pointed out that Toulouse might not be the preferred landing point for Chinese tourists, and Friedman Pacific would likely eye the Nice and Lyon airports as the next investment targets.
Chinese conglomerates have been accelerating overseas investments after the French government began offloading 10 billion euros worth of state-owned assets last year that may include the airports in Nice and Lyon.
Elsewhere, UK Manchester airport city project has attracted investments of 650 million GBP from ICBC in 2013 as well as 800 million GBP from Beijing Construction Engineering Group, which also picked up the project’s construction contract. The project includes office buildings, an industrial park, hotels, retail shops, leisure facilities and a 13-acre park surrounded by unique architecture.
Beijing Urban Construction Group will be involved in the construction of a third runway in the Maldives international airport scheduled to be completed in 2017.
China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group announced last January the expansion of the small Lumbini Airport in Nepal to become Gautam Buddha International Airport, which will include a new 3,000 meter runway, renovated office buildings, control tower and terminal facilities when completed in 2018.
At the end of 2014 China Airport Construction Group Corp presented an airport runway construction proposal for the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to the Bangladesh treasury department to be funded by US$1.5 billion in government chartered soft-loans.(Translation by David)