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Chinese consortium buys 49% stake in Toulouse airport

Out-Law News | 10 Dec 2014 | 3:11 pm | 1 min. read

A Chinese consortium is to buy a 49.99% stake in the Toulouse Blagnac airport from the French government.

The Symbiose consortium comprises Chinese state-owned group Shandong Hi-Speed Group and Hong Kong-based investment firm Friedmann Pacific Asset Management.

France’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron confirmed the sale in an interview with France’s La Depeche du Midi. Macron said the French state and local authorities would continue to be the “majority owners” by holding the remaining shares.

According to Airport-Technology.com, France’s stake in Toulouse-Blagnac is worth €308 million. The airport “is the fourth largest in France and used by European aerospace giant Airbus”.

Toulouse-Blagnac Airport has been a limited liability company since March 2007. To date, the French government has held a 60% stake, with other shareholders including the Toulouse Chamber of Commerce and Industry (25%) and regional authorities.

The two-runway airport released figures in 2012 which showed it ranked first as a regional freight airport, with a 10.35% average yearly increase in international scheduled traffic between 2002 and 2012.

Figures from the Invest in France Agency, reported by the China Daily, said the total value of China's investment in France reached $1.8 billion by the end of 2011 and created more than 6,000 jobs.

The China Daily said: “With its abundant technical know-how and reliable supply of highly skilled professional workers, France offers excellent prospects for Chinese investors in a host of industries such as telecoms and energy.”

"China is out to snap up infrastructure assets across Europe, as its need to invest vast reserves increases," said infrastructure consultant Graham Robinson, who advises Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "Aviation is a key sector for investment by China. China is looking to bring its significant construction and manufacturing suppliers to bear on developing infrastructure assets."