Singapore's Changi Airports International has bought a 29-percent stake in Nanjing Lukou International Airport in east China's Jiangsu Province.
The Singaporean company has paid 1.08 billion yuan (US$139.2 million) for its first airport investment in China, the world's second largest aviation market, Chow Kok Fong, chief executive officer of Changi Airports International, said in a statement.
The deal was "the first private-equity investment deal in a Chinese airport by a foreign airport," said Chow.
The first direct overseas investment in a Chinese mainland civil airport was made by the Airport Authority of Hong Kong, when purchasing a 35-percent stake in Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport last December.
Yu Cheng'an, general manager of the Nanjing Lukou International Airport, admitted the project would be conducive to upgrades and to the expansion of both facilities and infrastructure.
The deal would also benefit the economy of Nanjing City and the development of Jiangsu's aviation industry, said Liang Baohua, governor of Jiangsu Province.
The state-owned Nanjing Lukou International Airport, which opened in 1997, now stands China's fifth largest cargo airport and 15th biggest passenger airport. It handled 6.27 million passengers and about 160,000 tons of freight in 2006.
According to the Airports Council International (ACI) report in 2005, Changi Airport ranked sixth in the world with 30.7 million passengers annually, and fifth in cargo capacity, handling over 1.8 million tons.
The contract is the third major airport project secured by Changi Airports International over the past six months, after it signed deals to manage the Abu Dhabi International Airport and the New Terminal 1 of Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow.
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2007)