The Spanish Ministry of Public Works is working at full throttle to partially privatise AENA, the country's airport agency, in the coming fall, and the Ministry is to do it by means of offering on the stock market part of the agency's equity, revealed the Secretary of State of Infrastructure, Rafael Catalá.
'We are now tying some loose ends, and we are at the point of finding public investors. An equivalent part of the stake structure would then be offered on the stock exchange', revealed the senior politician, who also gave assurances that the State would keep the upper hand in AENA, as 50pc of the agency's stake would remain in public hands.
The part of the share structure that is to be offered to private investors is still to be determined, as well as the chunk of the equity to be marketed to public and minor investors, admitted Mr. Català. The senior post revealed that the final set-up is to be shaped depending on how markets evolve, trends recorded by demand and on the stock market worth that is finally assigned to the State-owned airport agency.
'We are now painstakingly analysing every possible option, as well as trying to determine whether there is a market niche , as all arrivals to stock exchanges count on existing demand and investors paying the company's real worth. If these conditions are met, the privatisation drive is to be given the go-ahead and we are aiming at doing it this year', said the Secretary of State as he left a conference on infrastructure organised by International Faculty for Executives (Ifaes).
Besides, the expert stressed that the Spanish government is aiming at much more than 'reaping additional revenue for the public purse' by partially privatising AENA. 'We are rather focused on the business model and ensuring that both mainland Spain and the country's isles are connected to a wider network, since airports play a crucial role for tourism industry, and on making sure that our facilities are feasible and stay up and running, for them to keep playing the role of the nation's backbone'.
During his speech at the conference, the senior expert highlighted 'a landmark overhaul' carried out by AENA over the last year, to become 'attractive to investors' and 'get back to a path to profits'. 'All what we have done enables us to launch an even more decisive restructuring bid in AENA aimed at the short term', judged.
All in all, AENA is now to undertake a partial privatisation plan, scarcely two years after the Spanish government halted a public contest to outsource the management of Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat to private bidders, the two main Spanish airports. The tendering process had been launched by the former government.
AENA, through AENA Airports, is according to the latest data the world's first airport agency in number of passengers, recording about 200 million air travellers a year. This agency is in charge of 46 State-owned airports in Spain as well as owning part of the equity at a further 23 airfields across the globe.