Hochtief increases stake in Budapest Airport

The Hungarian government is exercising a put option to sell its 25% stake in Budapest Airport to existing shareholders for €136m. Hochtief will benefit the most, acquiring an extra 12% in the airport and increasing its total shareholding to 49.66%.

The Hungarian government announced yesterday that it will exercise a put option to sell its minority stake in Budapest Airport, leading to its full privatisation.

The government owns 25 percent of the airport plus one vote, which it will now sell to existing shareholders for HUF36.6 billion (€136 million; $193 million) on a pro rata basis. German infrastructure group Hochtief, which currently owns 37.25 percent of the airport, will see its shareholding increase by roughly 12 percent to 49.66 percent. 

The other shareholders of Budapest Airport include Canada’s Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (13.62 percent), Singapore’s Malton (13.62 percent), Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners (7.5 percent) and Germany’s KfW bank (3 percent).

Hungary’s right-wing government called the privatisation of Budapest Airport under the former socialist government in 2005 “irresponsible” and said it was selling its minority stake because it “cannot provide the holder with any significant influence over the strategic operation of Budapest Airport”.

The government said it tried to buy back a majority interest in the airport, but that it was unable to do so since Hochtief is looking to sell its airports division. Hochtief is conducting a dual-track sale process for Hochtief Airports, started earlier this year, which may see the division sold directly to investors or divested through an initial public offer later this year.

Hochtief Airports holds stakes in six international airports, namely Sydney, Athens, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Tirana and Budapest.