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Manston airport: RiverOak boss Stephen DeNardo says he was 'surprised' by lack of negotiation by Ann Gloag over offer to buy the site

By Paul Francis

The American businessman behind a bid to buy Manston Airport says the deal offered to owner Ann Gloag was generous and would have left her with a profit.

With just days to go before the possible closure of the airport, Stephen DeNardo, who heads up the investment company RiverOak, said he had not given up on the buyout plan and was hoping for more talks.

In an exclusive interview with the KM Group, Mr DeNardo also said he would not rule out the possibility of operating passenger flights from Manston but the initial focus would be on establishing it as a key logistics centre.

Scroll down for full interview

RiverOak Investment Corp LLC head Stephen DeNardo

He also said that given the importance of Manston to the area, he was surprised the bid had not led to any real discussions or negotiations with the owner.

“I have been in many negotiations in my career, so there isn’t much that surprises me.

"What does surprise me is the lack of negotiation and discussion when so many jobs and an important piece of the community’s economy are at stake - especially when our offer, from my understanding, provides a tidy profit to the seller for such a short hold period.”

He had not yet met Ann Gloag personally but was still hopeful a deal could be struck.

Businesswoman Ann Gloag owns 20% of the site along with Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave. Picture: Craig Watson/ SWNS.com

“I have personally reached out to Mrs Gloag and am awaiting a response,” he said.

The investment company’s interest in Manston was “significant and sincere.” On the question of whether the offer was credible, he said:

“Considering everything I know and the required carrying costs to give us time to work our business plan, I actually think our offer was generous.

"I think that we have demonstrated a significant and sincere interest. We have even offered a quick close to the transaction if the due diligence materials can be substantiated.”

Manston airport before it closed

Manston owner Ann Gloag last week ruled out the offer from RiverOak, which is based in Connecticut, saying it was neither credible or viable.

For the full interview with RiverOak boss Stephen DeNardo, click here.

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