BUSINESS

Brussels clears AIA concession extension for takeoff

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

TAGS: Privatizations, Transport

Athens International Airport shareholders will have to pay dearly to get the 20-year extension of the airport’s concession, but a deal to that effect is within sight.

Following eight months of negotiations with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition (DG Comp), the eagerly anticipated agreement appears to have finally been reached and sources say it will be announced before the June 21 Eurogroup meeting. The same sources add that the result is due to pressure in that direction on Brussels by the country’s creditors.

Straight after that the Greek Parliament will ratify the agreement and its financial settlement. In that case, state sell-off fund TAIPED will collect some 1.1 billion euros and begin scanning possibilities for the sale of the 30 percent stake in AIA that it holds. The two transactions are projected to earn the privatizations fund more than 2 billion euros in the next couple of years.

The deal has reached this point after serious objections held by the DG Comp were curbed. It had rejected the draft contract presented to Brussels, especially the less optimistic conditions on which the original agreement was based, providing for a price of just 483 million euros, or 600 million euros including value-added tax.

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