Frankfurt airport operator looks at Athens

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The company that runs Frankfurt's airport is mulling the purchase of a stake in Athens's airport, being put up for sale by the Greek government to help raise much needed funds to reduce debt.

"If Greece has to privatise its airports, we would of course be interested as we are one of the biggest airport operators in the world," Fraport chairman Stefan Schulte told business daily Handelsblatt in an interview to appear Thursday.

"Before saying more however, we need to know the conditions," he added.

On Monday, the Greek government said it planned to sell up to 21 percent of its holding in Athens airport by 2012.

The Greek state currently owns 55 percent of the airport's equity, while the German construction group Hochtief holds 40 percent.

Greece is being pressed by the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank to sell assets to show financial markets that Athens is serious about reducing debt of around 340 billion euros ($480 billion).

Schulte said he was also interested in other European airports, noting that "Madrid, Barcelona and maybe some airports in England could be interesting."

Airports in Brazil, China and Puerto Rico were worth considering as well, the Fraport chief noted.

Frankfurt's airport is the third biggest European hub, behind London Heathrow and Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, outside Paris.

Fraport also owns holdings in 12 other airports, including those in Cairo, Dakar, Jeddah, Lima, Riyadh and Saint Petersburg.

© 2011 AFP

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