Aena privatisation is confirmed

Lufthansa takeoff shot from Barcelona airport terminal / Kozumel

Ana Pastor – Minister of Development – managed to succeed with her plans and they will finally go ahead with the Aena privatisation. Aena will make an initial public offering (IPO) this autumn. However, they will put on sale only 49% of the company instead of 60% as their Consulting Council of Privatisation (CCP) had recommended.

A smaller part through the same privatisation system.
The council of ministers reached an agreement last Friday. Thus, they confirmed the Aena privatisation will be distributed in two phases:

  1. 28% through an IPO, and
  2. 21% for a stable nucleus with at least three main shareholders.

This is the same system the CCP suggested, but for a minority part of the company.

According to information from ElConfidencial, Ana Pastor finally persuaded Álvaro Nadal-responsible for economic affairs for the Government after the minister. He was the most reluctant person to start the Aena privatisation during this term. In his view, a regulatory frame should guarantee the future of the airports as well as the public service with the airlines.

The Government to keep the majority of shares.
To this respect, Pastor reminded the company will continue to be “public” as the government will have the majority of shares. Also, she said that Aena does not receive “one single Euro from the State” but they cope with their commercial policy and the airport charges, which will remain frozen in 2015.

To persuade Álvaro Nadal, Pastor used the Document she had been working on during the last months: DORA, which we already explained in this blog. DORA is expected to be defined and published in the Official Gazette (BOE) through a Royal Decree before the Aena privatisation process is started.

Therefore, an IPO is expected in November, as soon as the stable nucleus has been defined. The ministers of Finance – Cristóbal Montoro – and Industry – José Manuel Soria – are in agreement. The Minister of Economy was never a problem for Pastor, as he was in line with Pastor from the beginning.

A key operation for the Government
The fact that the State is to keep the control has been essential to agree the Aena privatisation in the Government’s board. It was also important that the Government is eager to send signals of liberalisation in Spain to the European Union.

The Aena privatisation, though partial, becomes one of the most important actions in the Rajoy’s reformist agenda for the remainder of his term in office.

The Aena privatisation is expected to confirm the group division in two brands: Aena Ente Público Empresarial and Aena Aeropuertos. The former to continue to depend on the State, taking over the control tasks and the air navigation; the latter is the one 49% of which is to be sold. Aena Aeropuertos is worth 16,000 million Euros and has a debt of 11,000 million Euros. Thus, the operation should bring 2,500 million Euros for the State. In March, Aena Aeropuertos became profitable for the first time.

Canary and Balearic Islands
The airports are a key for the economy in both the Canary and the Balearic Islands and that is why they are very concerned about the airport net privatisation. In both cases, airlines can take benefit from the Public Service which some routes are entitled to. 

Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Tenerife South and Palma de Mallorca are amongst the eight only profitable airports. Thus, they are supposed to be the main attractive to investors. To this respect, informed on Sunday that the tourism industry and the employers from the Canary Islands in general expressed their concern before the decision made by the Council of Ministers last Friday.

The entry of private shareholders might have an impact on those loss-making airports which are essential like the smaller airports in the Canaries. It would not be logical to think that all the airports which are not profitable are at risk in any case, and Pastor’s document for airport regulation – DORA – might have an answer to this.

For further information, check out the Video with Pastor confirming the Aena privatisation by following the link to the source (ElConfidencial) at the bottom of this post.

Photo: Lufthansa takeoff shot from Barcelona airport terminal / Kozumel