Chinese group in US$1.2 billion British airport deal


Tue, Oct 15, 2013 - Page 15

Chinese construction giant Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG, 北京建工集團) has signed a deal with British firms to develop a business district around Manchester Airport, the companies involved in the project announced on Sunday.

The development of Britain’s third-busiest airport — described as one of the largest construction projects in the UK since last year’s London Olympics — will cost £800 million (US$1.27 billion).

MAG, the operator of Manchester Airport; GMPF, a pension fund based in the city; and the British construction group Carillion will work alongside BCEG in the joint project, a statement released by the companies said.

A breakdown of each company’s investment in the business district, dubbed “Airport City,” was not given in the statement.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who is currently on a trip to China hoping to boost trade ties between the two nations, wrote on his verified Twitter account that the development is “one of the largest” in Britain since the Olympics, and would eventually create 16,000 jobs for the region.

The deal comes at a time when Britain is seeking to bolster trade with the world’s second-largest economy, with both nations agreeing in 2010 to double their trade to US$100 billion by 2015.

London Mayor Boris Johnson was also in Beijing on Sunday in what Chinese state media said was a “campaign to lure Chinese sovereign funds, banks and developers to fund an overhaul of the British capital in the years to come.”

“Our mayor’s interest is about new infrastructure,” a member of the delegation was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying. “The mayor identified 33 areas across the city where we will be intensifying the density of [housing] and putting in new infrastructure.”

Kit Malthouse, the London deputy mayor for business, told Xinhua that London officials were hoping to attract “lots and lots of capital” to help the city deal with population growth.”

Once built, “Airport City” will take up 460,000m2 and will boast a mix of offices, hotels, advanced manufacturing firms, logistics and warehousing, the companies’ statement said.