Two of the five consortia considering bids for Gatwick airport have abandoned the process six weeks before final binding offers are due to be submitted, posing a problem for majority owner Ferrovial of Spain.

Membership of the remaining consortia is still fluid, however, and it is possible that some investors could switch groups in order to remain in the process.

The Gatwick Future Partnership led by Babcock & Brown European Infrastructure Fund and RREEF, the Deutsche Bank infrastructure fund, confirmed yesterday the grouping was out of the running in spite of having submitted an indicative, non-binding bid last month. It has been hit by the financial problems of the B&B parent group in Australia.

Binding offers are due to be submitted to BAA, the majority-owned subsidiary of the Spanish infrastructure and construction group, by 30March.

Financial Times, The Times