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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Goldman gives up BAA takeover bid
Heathrow airport
Soon to be in Spanish hands?
US investment bank Goldman Sachs has announced that it will no longer proceed with a takeover bid for UK airports operator BAA.

Its comments came after BAA said it "ceased" talks with the Goldman Sachs.

The news appears to leave Spain's Grupo Ferrovial free to complete its 10bn ($18bn) takeover of BAA, which has been backed by the UK firm's board.

The UK Takeover Panel had given Goldman Sachs until June 16 to make a rival offer for BAA or withdraw its interest.

Airports have become an attractive investment target because of the surge in air travel worldwide.

Rising passenger numbers

BAA runs seven UK airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Southampton.

The news of Goldman Sachs' withdrawal came as BAA reported it had seen 12.8 million passengers pass through its terminals in May.

BAA said passenger figures for May were up 3.6% year-on-year, or 3.2% if the effect of a later Easter is taken into account.

Long-haul flights excluding North America rose by 11%, but there was a 10.6% fall in European charter flights.

Aberdeen and Stansted saw the largest gains in passenger numbers, while 5.7 million travellers journeyed via Heathrow, a rise of 1.4%.

Glasgow was the only airport to carry fewer passengers than the same month a year before.

Among the fastest-growing routes were those to China and India which grew 49% and 58% respectively.

Last month BAA promised a 9.5bn investment programme in its three London airports - Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted - over the next 10 years and said passenger numbers at the three airports were set to rise by 3% a year during that period.

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