Mounting debts reach £1bn UK airport operator BAA has said it does not need to sell London Gatwick despite mounting losses and a regulatory ruling.
BAA is reported to be facing a £1bn debt bill as first-half losses at its London operations more than trebled to £546m.
Colin Matthews, BAA's ceo, said talks with the two remaining Gatwick bidders were still continuing almost a year after the airport was first put up for sale.
Mr Matthews said BAA would not sell Gatwick unless the price was right or do so in order to manage its £1bn debt.
"We can't guarantee we will receive an acceptable price, and we won't sell Gatwick if we don't," Mr Matthews told Reuters.
Mr Matthews told reporters that BAA still had a choice despite the need to pay back the debt next year.
The airport operator also hopes to overturn a ruling by the UK's Competition Commission (CC) ordering it to sell thereof its seven UK airports including Gatwick.
BAA said the CC report was affected by "apparent bias" and "failed to take into account the adverse financial impact of introducing competition".
BAA has denied reports that Gatwick bidder Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is out of the running after it refused to raise its offer of £1.4bn.
A spokesperson for BAA said MAG and second bidder Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) were both still interested in striking a deal.
The CC's report, published in March, ordered BAA to sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh.
This would leave BAA with Heathrow, Southampton, Aberdeen and either Glasgow or Edinburgh.
The CC also ruled that the sale of the three must be completed in two years with Gatwick going first, followed by Stansted and then one of the Scottish duo.
BAA's appeal will be heard before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in October.
BAA, majority owned by Spanish conglomerate Ferrovial, said pre-tax losses on London operations had risen more than three times to nearly £550m in the six months to June 30.
It blamed the losses made on London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, on various exceptional items such as pension deficit increases and the falling value of older Heathrow terminals.
Despite reporting poor first half results, BAA's three London airports saw a 41.6% rise in "cash generated from operations."
BAA said its outlook for the full financial year is in line with previous forecasts.