Marguerite touches down in Greece to complete €700m fund

Vehicle makes its final investment, buying a stake in 14 airports that were among the first assets to be sold under the country’s privatisation programme.

The Marguerite Fund has made its final investment with the purchase of a 10 percent stake in 14 regional Greek airports.

The €710 million fund comprised of six European public financial institutions bought the share from a subsidiary of the Copelouzos Group, the Greek partner to the Fraport-led consortium. The move was an “attractive opportunity” to invest in “landmark assets”, according to Nicolás Merigó, chief executive of Marguerite.

The airports in the portfolio include those based in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, as well as tourist hotspots such as Rhodes, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos. Fraport and Copelouzos agreed a deal in November 2014 to pay the Greek government €1.2 billion for the concession, plus an annual payment of €22.9 million, in what was the first major privatisation in the country as part of its bailout agreement. Their offer was said to be “substantially higher” than independent valuations, according to Greek privatisation agency HRADF.

Total passenger traffic at the 14 airports totalled 23.9 million between January and September 2017, according to the latest available figures. The numbers represented a 10.5 percent increase on the previous year.

The investment by the Marguerite Fund is its second airport deal, following its 20.8 percent share in the €331 million Zagreb Airport concession sealed in 2013. The fund sold five of its assets to Pantheon last month and the six shareholders have formed a second €700 million fund with a similar focus.