Ljubljana Airport privatisation begins
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is officially on sale with more than 75% of its shares being offered by the government and other minority shareholders. The government says there is great interest for Slovenia’s busiest airport and has expressed hope to use some of the capital from the sale to invest into airport infrastructure and the construction of a rail link to the city. The KD Fund, a minority shareholder, says operators of Venice, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Zurich and Vienna airports, as well as Chinese companies and private funds, have all shown interest in purchasing shares at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik.
Italian media recently reported that the operator of Venice Marco Polo Airport (SAVE), which also runs Treviso Airport, is part operator of Charleroi Airport in Belgium and the future operator of Verona Airport, is eying a stake in Ljubljana Airport. Italian media believe Ljubljana Airport is the missing link in SAVE’s regional airport empire which is why it is keen on acquiring a stake. It would prove as a replacement for Trieste Airport which is operated by another company. On the other hand, Ljubljana Airport CEO, Zmago Skobir, recently said China Southern Airlines has expressed interest in taking over the airport.
During the week, the Slovenian Prime Minister, Alenka Bratušek, criticised a recent decision by minority shareholders not to back the construction of a brand new terminal building at the airport. Shareholders blocked the construction of a multi million euro terminal, citing unfavourable economic conditions. Jože Pučnik Airport is set to end four years of continual passenger decline in 2013. In September the airport saw a 7% passenger increase. A financial advisor for the airport’s sale will be selected in the first half of November.