LONDON: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has entered the running for Stansted airport, as the owners of London's third hub attempt to stoke up competition in the £1bil (RM4.92bil) bidding process.
The Sunday Telegraph understands that an approach has been made by the group, which owns 39 airports in its domestic heartland, including its flagship KL International Airport.
It is known that Stansted's owner, Heathrow the airports group formerly known as BAA has sought out new bidders in an attempt to boost the likely price.
Although there were four existing bidders for Stansted in the first round, Heathrow has been seeking a “stalking horse” suitor to revive the auction process.
The original four are Manchester Airport Group (MAG) which is backed by Australia's Industry Funds Management, plus financial investors TPG, Macquarie and HRL Morrison.
Macquarie and HRL Morrison are in the market trying to raise the necessary funds for their respective bids, while it is understood that TPG believes it is being sidelined in the process.
Sources close to the auction indicated that MAG had emerged as the favoured bidder, but that Heathrow wanted to secure a strong rival trade bidder to bolster the eventual price.
MAHB is 40.4%-owned by Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia's state investment company.
In addition to its own airports, it also owns a 20% stake in Istanbul airport and a 10% holding in Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi as well as stakes in airports in Hyderabad and the Maldives.
The Stansted sales process, the result of Heathrow losing a three-year fight with UK competition regulators, is being managed by Deutsche Bank and ING. A sale is expected in the first half of 2013.
A spokesman for Heathrow declined to comment. A spokesman for MAHB did not return calls requesting a comment. Sunday Telegraph
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