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"Green light" from the Commission for the IPO of Eleftherios Venizelos

The processes for the listing of Athens International Airport on the Stock Exchange are now proceeding rapidly. DG Comp paved the way for AviAlliance to become a cornerstone investor by acquiring 50% plus 6 shares of AIA.

With the blessing of the Commission, Athens airport is heading towards the Stock Exchange. The pending issues are being closed one by one for the IPO of Athens International Airport (AIA), expected in the first quarter of 2024. A few days ago, DG Comp gave the green light to AviAlliance, owned by Canadian fund PSP Investments, to increase its stake to 50% plus 6 AIA shares.

The Commission was asked to approve the core - in substance - of the agreement reached with the existing shareholders of Eleftherios Venizelos to pave the way for the initial public offer. A deal that 'locked in' that they would keep the management of the airport in their hands and which took months of negotiations.

The acquisition by the Canadian pension fund PSP Investments of an additional 10% at a significant premium gives German AviAlliance sole control of AIA, making it the cornerstone investor in the IPO.

According to the announcement, the European Commission, after examining the transaction notified on 24 October 2023 under the Merger Regulation, has decided "not to oppose it and to declare it compatible with the internal market and the EEA Agreement".

The 30% stake in AIA, which is rapidly being developed through the stock exchange, is currently owned by the Hellenic State Treasury, while a 25% stake is held and will be retained by the Ypertha Fund. Indeed, as provided for by an amendment last summer, with the listing of the shares on the Athens Stock Exchange, the Ypertha Fund will exercise full shareholder rights and appoint members of the Board of Directors. The Copelouzos Group holds a 5% stake.

Step by step the procedures are progressing

At the beginning of the month, the general meeting of AIA's shareholders approved the amendment of Article 5 of the company's Articles of Association, paving the way for its listing on the Athens Stock Exchange. In particular, the decision of the general meeting reduced the nominal value of each share from EUR 10 to EUR 1, while increasing the total number of shares from 30 million to 300 million.

This will be followed on 4 December by the Extraordinary General Meeting of the airport company, where shareholders will be asked to ratify the amendments to the airport concession agreement, the MoU agreed with AviAlliance and the listing on the stock exchange. The next major track will be the approval of the amended concession agreement by Parliament, which is expected after the 2024 Budget is passed.

Performance and valuation

With normalcy gradually returning to the country's airports, Athens International Airport continued on its positive performance path for the January-September 2023 period. In total, Eleftherios Venizelos' revenues amounted to 463.6 million euros, up almost 30% compared to 357.16 million euros in the corresponding period of 2022.

According to the interim statements, prepared for the purpose of distributing a provisional dividend, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the same period amounted to 322 million euros compared to 249 million euros in the first nine months of 2022. Athens International Airport's profitability after tax exceeded the same period last year by almost 43%, reaching EUR 188.68 million.

The valuation at which the IPO will take place is estimated to be between €2.7 billion and €3.3 billion, depending on market conditions when the IPO takes place. The proceeds of the transaction are expected to be between EUR 800 million and EUR 1 billion.

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