ECONOMY

Airport tender exceeds expectations

After around three years of privatization procedures, the Greek government can finally boast that it has received a significant vote of confidence – coming from Germany at that. The German state is the biggest shareholder in Fraport AG, the company which, in consortium with local firm Kopelouzos, was selected as the preferred bidder for the concession of 14 regional airports on Tuesday.

The Fraport-Slentel consortium has offered more than 2.1 billion euros in total for the 40-year-long concession, of which 1.234 billion will be paid in a lump sum and the remainder over the course of the four decades, at a rate of 22.9 million euros per year, which will be adjusted according to inflation.

Fraport-Slentel has also committed itself to the realization of investments of 1.4 billion euros at the 14 airports – also including the Macedonia Airport of Thessaloniki – with 330 million euros invested in the first four years.

The offer by the German-Greek consortium has exceeded even the most optimistic estimates, as the nearest rival bid lagged it by 600 million euros: French group Vinci, partnered with Athens-listed Ellaktor, offered a one-off price of 870 million euros and an annual lease of 17.9 million euros, while the bid by Corporacion America was even lower but still above the estimate by the independent valuer for state sell-off fund TAIPED. “The margin of difference was such that it was only a matter of minutes before the preferred bidder was chosen,” a TAIPED official said yesterday.

Fraport AG chairman Stefan Schulte expressed his satisfaction with the outcome: “The Greek regional airports add another airport investment with dynamic development potential. Our extensive know-how gained over many decades will contribute to expanding and strengthening the competitive position of the Greek regional airports.”

Fraport will control 65 percent of the new company that will operate the terminals in Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Corfu, Zakynthos, Myconos, Santorini, Hania, Kos, Skiathos, Lesvos, Kavala, Cephalonia, Samos and Aktio. The remaining 35 percent will belong to the Kopelouzos group.