The Australian specialist global investment manager that owns Leeds Bradford and has a stake in Newcastle airport is taking an almost half share in Luton airport.

The 49% shareholding in the UK’s fifth largest airport, put up for sale last month by French private equity group Ardian, is being acquired by AMP Capital for a reported £350 million.

The sale does not affect Spanish infrastructure group Aena´s 51% majority shareholding and controlling stake in Luton airport, home of easyJet.

Ardian acquired 49% of the Bedfordshire airport in 2013 for an estimated £90 million.

Ardian and Aena, have since invested more than £160 million in developing the airport.

This has seen passenger numbers grow from 9.7 million in 2013 to 15.8 million last year, making Luton airport one of the UK’s fastest growing airports, hosting 11 airlines with a network of more than 140 destinations.

The revamp has involved a redesign of the terminal and major upgrades to transport links.

New shops and restaurants have also been introduced to improve the passenger experience.

Airport CEO Nick Barton said: “Since their investment in 2013 the Aena and Ardian partnership has been instrumental in helping us to transform and grow the airport.

“We look forward to building on this success with AMP Capital as we continue to develop London Luton airport (LLA) into a world class airport.”

Ardian managing director Andrew Liau added: “This success has been made possible by the hard work of everyone involved with LLA, including the employees, our industrial partner Aena, and an extended list of important stakeholders.

“AMP Capital will be an excellent partner for them and LLA as the airport continues its growth ambitions.”

José Manuel Fernández Bosch, director general for non-regulated business of Aena, said: “As London Luton Airport’s main shareholder we remain fully committed to the airport’s growth and development in co-operation with stakeholders and employees.”