BAA’S hopes of getting at least £1.6bn for Gatwick airport have been dealt an eleventh-hour blow by the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.

S&P has told one of the three bidders that it will refuse to give an appropriate credit rating to any bid structure that contains debt equivalent to more than half the airport’s £1.6bn regulated asset base – the regulator’s proxy for the airport’s value.

The news, which limits debt finance to £800m, could force bidders to cut their offers before the deadline for second-round bids – unless they can find fresh equity.

Sunday Telegraph