Spain hikes share price range for airport operator AENA

3rd February 2015, Comments 0 comments

The Spanish government on Tuesday raised its price range for its sale of a stake in AENA, the world's biggest airport operator by passenger numbers, to 53-58 euros per share.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's cabinet had set the price range at between 43 and 55 euros when it approved the company's inital public offering last month.

The new price range values the company at between 7.96 and 8.70 billion euros ($9.1 billion-$10 billion), AENA said in a regulatory filing, up from between 6.45 and 8.25 billion euros under the previous range.

AENA runs 46 airports and two heliports in Spain and another 15 airports in Latin America, the United States and Europe, including London's Luton airport. Nearly 195.9 million passengers moved though its sites last year, a 4.5 percent increase over 2013.

The Spanish government plans to list 28 percent of AENA on the stock market on February 11 and had agreed to sell another 21 percent to three private-sector anchor investors.

It will retain a narrow majority of 51 percent in AENA, which was hit hard by Spain's economic downturn and underwent a massive overhaul which included firing 20 percent of its workers and a rise in airport taxes that have helped restore it back to financial health.

The company reported a net profit of 596.7 million euros ($689.1 million) for 2013, emerging from a net loss of 63.5 million euros the previous year.

Results for 2014 are not yet available but AENA said its revenues rose 6.4 percent during the first nine months to 2.39 billion euros due to a rise in airport traffic as Spain's economy picked up and stronger sales from duty free shops.

The company has also been boosted by a rise in visitor numbers to Spain. A record 65 million foreign tourists visited the country last year, and the 7.1 percent traffic increase was the biggest for 14 years, the Industry and Tourism Ministry said last month.

Spain's previous Socialist government had sought in 2011 to sell 90.05 percent of the shares in airports in Madrid and Barcelona, aiming to raise 5.3 billion euros.

That plan had also included the sale of a 49 percent stake in AENA but was abandoned ahead of an early general election in November 2011, which was won in a landslide by the conservative Popular Party.

In January 2012 the new conservative government was forced to shelve plans to privatise the airports because of "unfavourable" market conditions.


© 2015 AFP

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