|Vinci and Friedmann Pacific respond to Fraport offer|
French concession and construction company Vinci, as well as Friedmann Pacific Investment Holding, have upped their bids for the purchase of a 75.5% stake in Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport. It comes after the state investment firm Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SDH), which is in charge of selling state assets, announced it was entering exclusive talks with Germany’s Fraport for the airport’s takeover. Vinci runs a total of 23 airports across France, Portugal and Cambodia. On the other hand, the Hong Kong-based Friedmann Pacific owns China Aircraft Leasing Group, the country’s largest aircraft operating leaser. The company also recently formed a consortium for the purchase of Athens Airport.
However, despite the increased offers by the French and Chinese, Fraport is still believed to be a frontrunner in the bidding process. According to local media, the German conglomerate has offered 63 euros per share, compared to an earlier offer by Vinci of fifty euros per share. Ljubljana Airport shares are currently trading at 44 euros apiece on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange. Experts have criticised the SHD’s decision to immediately enter talks with an interested party, saying the asset seller has decreased the chances of igniting a bidding war and thus decreased Ljubljana Airport’s final sales price.
Recently, Vinci Chairman, Nicolas Notebaert, said he was confident his company can contribute to the development of Ljubljana Airport. He explained the airport would retain its name and location if Vinci was successful in its quest to purchase a majority stake. Mr. Notebaert added the company’s main acquisition model is through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and the goal is to establish a decentralised system in which Ljubljana Airport is at the centre and not a branch of Vinci-owned airports in Paris or Lisbon. He explained one of the company’s key objectives would be to grow traffic at Slovenia’s busiest airport, and growth in traffic and investments “go hand-in-hand”. The other three bidding companies, Fraport, Friedmann Pacific and Italy’s Save, have not publicly discussed their plans for Jože Pučnik Airport.