Norfolk County Council agrees to sell its last shares in Norwich Airport

PUBLISHED: 13:55 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:55 15 July 2019

Councils are set to sell their remaining shares in Norwich Airport. Picture: Mike Page

Councils are set to sell their remaining shares in Norwich Airport. Picture: Mike Page

Copypright Mike Page, All Rights Reserved Before any use is made of this picture, including dispaly, publication, broadcast, syn

The final publicly-owned shares in Norwich Airport are to be sold, after Norfolk County Council agreed to sell the airport its stake in the transport hub.

Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil PerryGraham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

Having first been set up by Norwich City Council, alongside the county council in the late 1960s, the two local authorities have kept stakes in the airport ever since.

In 2004, Onmiport - then the airport's owners - paid the two councils £11.1m for an 80.1pc stake in the airport.

However, in February, the airport's current owner Regional and City Airports approached the two councils with an offer to buy up the remaining 19.9pc stake.

Negotiations took place and a revised offer was made, which officers at both councils were happy with.

The city council's cabinet agreed to sell its 6pc share last week and today saw Norfolk County Council follow suit in agreeing to give up its 9pc share.

The controlling Conservative cabinet voted unanimously to the sale.

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Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said, since the 2004 sale of the bulk of shares, the council had not received any dividends from the shares which it had retained.

He said: "In fact, it has tended to cost us, because of the due diligence required each time the airport has refinanced its loans."

Legislator 1656 Ltd - an arms-length company jointly owned by the two councils - had previously agreed to sell its 4.9pc share.

As part of the deal there would also be a legally binding agreement meaning that for the next 15 years bi-annual meetings would be held between airport and council bosses "to exchange information".

Deputy leader Graham Plant said the sale would help the airport achieve its ambitions.

He said: "They are looking to increase their turnover from £70m to £140m and this will help with that.

"From my point of view, this is a good sale."

And Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, public health and prevention, said: "I support their objective of growing the airport, because I think it will be a generator of jobs and prosperity, not just for Norwich, but for the whole of the county."

The amount which the councils will be paid for the sale of their stakes has not been made public.

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