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Government Shareholding in NATS

Volume 548: debated on Tuesday 10 July 2012

My Department ran a call for evidence last year to explore the options for the future of the Government’s 49% shareholding in the UK’s air traffic control provider, NATS Holdings plc (NATS).

The responses, along with work done by my officials in conjunction with other stakeholders, highlighted the strategic importance of NATS to the UK and the far-reaching implications of a sale at this time. These include the continued development of the single European sky agenda and the ongoing work on the single European sky air traffic management research programme (SESAR).

In parallel, I have considered the potential value that could be realised through a sale of the shares alongside the benefits from receiving dividends from a retained shareholding.

After considering these factors, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of the British taxpayer, the travelling public and the company itself to retain the Government’s shares in NATS at this time.