Nervy markets respond to government’s fine threat for poorly performing airports

Shares in Ferrovial, the Spanish construction group that owns Heathrow operator BAA, continued to tumble this morning following the Coalition’s warning that poorly performing airports will face more stringent penalties.

BAA struggled to cope with the severe cold snap this month, leaving thousands of passengers unable to board their flights.

At the weekend, transport secretary Philip Hammond said that tough legislation could be introduced that fines airport operators with poor customer service.

Unlike London, which only restarted trading today, the Madrid Stock Exchange has been re-opened after Christmas on Monday. Ferrovial has taken a beating since the weekend’s news, falling every day this week.

This morning it was one of only four stocks on the IBEX index of the biggest 35 Spanish companies to fall. At 11.34 Spanish time Ferrovial had fallen 0.92% to €7.54 (£6.43).

On Monday shares fell 2.4% and they slipped back a further 0.33% yesterday.

Ferrovial bought BAA, which also owns Stansted and Edinburgh airports, for £10.3bn in 2006 in a heavily debt-funded deal.

The four years hence have been dramatic, with struggles to refinance that loan, a competition probe deciding that BAA should be broken up, the appeal of that judgement, and the sale of Gatwick Airport at a loss.