May 1, 2015
Greece expects to seal Fraport deal to lease 14 airports within a month
According to Greek officials who have direct access to current information, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (the Fund), which sells real estate, infrastructure and other government holdings has confirmed it is satisfied with an offer of €1.2bn (US$1.4bn) from Germany’s Fraport AG, for the lease of 14 regional airports in Greece, and now expects to conclude the sale within a month. Recent speculation had indicated that the deal was in doubt following the election of the new anti-austerity government in January. It appeared that Athens wanted a stake in the consortium, which also includes Greek energy firm Copelouzos, and also wanted to reduce the number of airports being leased from 14 to 7.
Fraport have always appeared to be open to discussion and ‘tweaking’ of the original deal, having indicated they had considered the end of the year a more likely time to conclude the deal. The current situation is such that after the Greek Economy Minister, Yiorgos Stathakis, met the chief executive and other board members of the German firm on Wednesday in Athens, the government may retain a small stake in the 14 airports, though this is as yet unconfirmed. “The meeting took place in a good climate and both sides accepted and agreed that the deal needs to be reviewed,” an official told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity. The Fund is now looking to make minor and limited revisions to the airport deal which will allow the state and local municipalities to retain a nominal stake in the consortium, allowing them a degree of participation in the management of the 14 airports.