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Strong interest from international investors for stake in Athens airport

More than five investors are looking at buying a 30 percent stake in the Athens International Airport being sold by the Greek government and will need to submit their interest in the stake to Greece's privatizations agency HRADF on Tuesday.

More than five investors are looking at buying a 30 percent stake in the Athens International Airport (AIA) being sold by the Greek government.

The investors, that include two groups from China, will need to submit their interest in the stake to Greece's privatizations agency HRADF on Tuesday unless a new extension to the sale is granted. 

AviAlliance, a subsidiary of Canadian investment group PSP, is interested in upping its 40 percent holding in the airport as is the Copelouzos group, which holds a stake of some 5 percent in AIA. For some time now there has been talk that France's Vinci, the largest shareholder in Greece's Rio-Antirio bridge, will invest in the airport. However, the French group is believed to have been put off the investment since it does not provide the company with a role in the airport's management.

Another potential buyer is Australia's Macquarie as part of its plans to boost global investments.

The tricky part of the equation for HRADF is the interest of Chinese investors at a time where the European Union is trying to keep Beijing at a distance from strategic infrastructure investments in the region.

The tender for the sale of the 30 percent stake was announced at the end of January after a 20-year extension to the management of the airport had been granted to AIA, which manages the airport. The big question is how investors will price the stake in the asset amidst big expectations from government officials for a significant revenue windfall from the deal.

 

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