Greece rejects bid to extend Athens airport concession

The public-private consortium running Greece’s busiest airport was looking to prolong the contract to 2046, but the state’s privatisation agency is asking for an improved offer.

A bid to extend a PPP agreement for Athens International Airport has been rejected by Greece’s privatisation agency, with the agency requesting the company return with a better proposal.

The company’s current 30-year concession does not expire until 2026, so the two sides still have plenty of time to reach an agreement. But AIA, a public-private partnership in which Greece owns a 55 percent stake and private investors the remainder, must sweeten its offer if it hopes to extend the deal to 2046, Greece’s Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund said.

AIA was established in 1996 to build, maintain and operate what is now Greece’s busiest airport, also known as Eleftherios Venizelos. The airport began operations in March 2001 and saw more than 20 million passengers last year.

HRADF, which was established in 2011 to privatise state assets following the country’s government debt crisis, owns a 30 percent stake in AIA. PSP Investments, a Canadian Crown corporation, holds a 40 percent share in the company.

HRADF’s rejection of the AIA bid marks the second time in two months the agency has asked for improved offers from companies looking to manage Greek assets. In April, HRADF turned down bids for a majority stake in the Thessaloniki Port Authority, forcing the three groups interested in the acquisition to submit improved offers two weeks later.