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Budapest Airport to Become Majority State-owned within Days

Hungary Today 2024.04.09.

The government expects that Budapest Airport will be returned to majority state ownership within days, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced in parliament on Monday. As soon as this happens, the government will also decide on the infrastructure leading to the airport, the Prime Minister said in response to a question about a railway line to the airport.

Since the beginning of September 2023, it has been known that the government made a takeover bid for a majority stake in Budapest Airport Ltd., allegedly for 51%, Hungary Today reported at the time. The specific buyer could be a state-controlled investment company. The minority stake would go to a professional investor, reportedly France’s VINCI Airports, a major airport operator in Europe and in the region. Furthermore, the Qatari state investors (Qatar Investment Authority) could then join as financial or strategic investors. In addition, the national economy minister also told Bloomberg at the end of 2023, that if the deal goes through, the expansion of the airport will be on the agenda and there are plans to build a third terminal.

Budapest Airport

Photo: Facebook / Budapest Airport

In October last year, the ministry made changes to the aviation law, preparing for the takeover of the company. Then, in November, the government sold its 15 percent stake in the Hungarian subsidiary of Erste Bank. At the time, Máté Lóga, State Secretary of the Ministry for National Economy, confirmed the speculation that the government sold its stake in order to buy the airport. Furthermore, as Hungary Today previously reported, the state also sold its stake in mobile phone operator Yettel Hungary. The revenue from that sale will also be used to purchase Budapest Airport.

The airport was valued at EUR 4.4 billion in the failed state takeover attempt in 2021, but it is not known how much it will be bought for now.

After the unsuccessful attempt a few years ago, with yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister, it now seems that the takeover process will succeed.

The repurchase of the airport is by far the largest transaction of the post-communist period (since 1989), and as a result it is a complex and complicated task, as it is easy to sell the airport, but difficult to buy it back, the Ministry of National Economy (NGM) recently responded to a 444 article on the sale. “That is why these negotiations were conducted in parallel, with dozens of banks and international funds having to be agreed upon,” quotes Világgazdaság from the ministry’s statement.

Budapest Airport will be bought by the Hungarian state from Airport Holding, in which

  • German airport operator AviAlliance holds 55.44 percent
  • Malton, a Singapore investment fund, holds 23.33 percent
  • and the Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec owns 21.23 percent.

The purchase price is known to be many times higher in value and complexity than the acquisition of Vodafone.

Photo via Facebook/Budapest Airport

Air cargo traffic at the airport hit a record last month, AIRportal reported a few days ago. Budapest Airport’s air cargo traffic in March this year was 23,720 tons, up 40.7 percent year-on-year by 6,865 tons, and significantly higher than the previous record of 22,206 tons set in November last year. In addition, the number of passengers reached nearly 1.3 million in March this year, also an outstanding figure, up 10.5 percent from the third month of the record year before the pandemic in 2019, and 21.7 percent higher than last March.

Budapest Airport Can Be a Potential Leader in European Air Cargo Business
Budapest Airport Can Be a Potential Leader in European Air Cargo Business

Budapest Airport showcased robust performance recently.Continue reading

Via MTI, Világgazdaság, AIRporal; Featured image: Facebook/Budapest Airport

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