Four years ago in 2015 a consortium of two Chinese companies (CASIL Europe) secured a majority stake – but not overall control – in Toulouse Blagnac Airport, France’s sixth busiest, despite widespread concern throughout the country that major French companies were overlooked. There was clearly political interest in the transaction.
CASIL is the acronym for China Airport Synergy Investment Limited. CASIL Europe is a joint venture that includes the Chinese state-owned group Shandong Hi-Speed Group and Hong Kong-based investment company Friedmann Pacific Asset Management; it took a 49.99% stake in Toulouse Airport in France through a French-registered company of that name.
But the government retained a 10% stake and it is equally clear it isn’t going to sell it. While the consortium has honoured its pledges, investing in the airport and growing passenger traffic, it has decided enough is enough and will now sell its stake.
Waiting in the wings are the unsuccessful bidders from the initial privatisation.