Greece has shortlisted nine investors in a tender for a minority stake in Athens International Airport (AIA), the country’s biggest, its privatisation agency said on Friday.
The sale is crucial for Greece which emerged from international bailouts in 2018 and is aiming for privatisation receipts of 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) this year.
Greece holds a 55 percent stake in the airport and 10 investment groups had submitted expressions of interest for the 30 percent stake sale that the country is selling.
The privatisation agency said investors advancing to the next stage of the tender are: AviaAlliance, First State Investments, a KKR-Egis consortium, Global Infrastructure Partners, Spain’s Ferrovial, ADP Groupe, France’s Vinci Airports, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund and Ardian Infrastructure Fund.
A source with knowledge of the process told Reuters investors would submit binding bids in the second quarter.
The conservative government that came to power in July has promised to speed up privatisations to attract investment and stimulate growth after a decade-long debt crisis.
Other shareholders in the private-public partnership which operates the airport are Germany-based AviAlliance GmbH, owned by Canadian pension investor PSP Investments, with a 40 percent stake, and Greece’s Copelouzos group with a 5 percent stake.
The partnership last year secured an extension to its license to operate the airport, which had been due to expire in 2026, to 2046.
The airport, a gateway to Europe for people coming from the Middle East and highly profitable since it started operation in 2001, handled 25.6 million passengers last year, an annual rise of 6 percent.