The sell-off of a 30 percent stake in Athens International Airport has been put on ice for the time being, as authorities do not want to see the sale coincide with the extension of AIA’s concession contract.
The process, which state sell-off fund TAIPED had been planning to launch in the coming weeks, has been put off until after the completion of the 20-year extension of AIA’s concession contract with the airport’s Canadian shareholder PSP Investments, which has dug deep to secure that deal.
The decision was taken on Wednesday at a meeting between the ministers of finance, Euclid Tsakalotos, and infrastructure, Christos Spirtzis, as well as TAIPED representatives. It appears to have been prompted by Brussels, which does not want the concession extension and the sale of the 30 percent stake to be in any way associated with each other or to appear as favoring PSP Investments, which owns a 40 percent stake in AIA, as it is pegged by TAIPED as the most promising suitor for the next stake.
It also appears unlikely that another suitor will appear, as they would have to settle for being a secondary shareholder.
European authorities also do not want the sale of the 30 percent stake to appear as an amendment to the original concession contract from 1996, which secures the concession through 2026.