Fairfax Financial to Buy 33% Stake in India’s Bangalore Airport for $322 Million

By Anurag Kotoky | March 28, 2016

Indian airport operator GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd. said it sold a stake in its Bengaluru aerodrome to Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., helping cut debt. The shares rose.

Fairfax will buy 33 percent of Bangalore International Airport Ltd. for 21.49 billion rupees ($322 million), GVK said in a statement to the Mumbai stock exchange Monday.

GVK, which also operates power plants, said the deal will help it reduce debt by 20 billion rupees, apart from saving interest costs of 3 billion rupees a year. The transaction is likely to be completed by the middle of this year, the company, also the operator of the airport in Mumbai, said in the statement.

Shares of GVK jumped as much as 10 percent to 7.40 rupees, the highest intraday level in more than a month.

The company, which will retain a 10 percent stake in the airport in Bengaluru, previously known as Bangalore, will sell the stake through Mauritius-based units of Fairfax, headed by Prem Watsa.

Watsa, 65, founded Toronto-based Fairfax in 1985. He’s modeled his investment style and strategy after value investor Warren Buffett. Fairfax gained from the 2008 financial crisis when Watsa bet on declines in the creditworthiness of U.S. banks and insurers. This year, he’s been investing in inflation-linked securities and short positions on stocks and markets.

–With assistance from Rajesh Kumar Singh.

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