Ferrovial received at least two bids for Gatwick airport yesterday as the first part of the forced break-up of BAA, its UK airports subsidiary, entered a decisive phase.

The offer prices, estimated by analysts to be in the range of £1.3bn to £1.5bn, were well below the Spanish infrastructure group’s expectations of last September, when it announced the sale of the UK’s second-largest airport with the hope of attracting bids in the range of £1.8bn to £2bn.

Offers submitted on Monday by Global Infrastructure Partners and a consortium led by Manchester Airport Group have been depressed by the recession, the steep decline in traffic volumes at Gatwick and by the problems of raising the necessary bank finance.

Financial Times