x

Society

Athens Airport Stake Sale Adds to Hot Investor Interest in Greece

ATHENS – Investor interest in the sale of a 30% stake in Greece’s main tourist gateway, Athens International Airport, is also seen as further propelling the country’s accelerating economic comeback.

The state raised €784.7 million ($848.04 million) through the sale of its holding in the 23-year-old airport, known as Eleftherios Venizelos, with the IPO priced at €8.20 ($8.83) a share, the high end of the range.

“It’s a landmark transaction for Greece,” said Thanassis Drogossis, head of investment banking at Pantelakis Securities SA. “It’s a quality asset that enhances the reach of the Greek capital markets by attracting new classes of investors and serves as a proxy for Greek tourism, the heavyweight industry of the country.”

In a report, Bloomberg financial news agency noted that it came after Greece’s first new bond sale since it regained investment-grade status – a 10-year debt that attracted €35 billion ($37.7 billion) in orders, the most ever.

“The blockbuster IPO (Initial Public Offering) is one more marker bolstering Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis since his reelection in June. Greece’s economy outperformed most of its European peers last year, making the country’s financial crisis more than 10 years ago a distant memory,” the report said.

It will also help the country’s largest airport expand as tourist arrivals set new records. The Athens airport, which connects Greece with 155 cities worldwide, handled more than 28 million passengers in 2023 — a 24% increase from 2022 when COVID-19 health measures were lifted.

About 19 million of them came from overseas, showing its central role in Greece’s crucial tourism sector, with a record 32 million visitors arriving through November and the country trying to lure them in the winter period.

“Athens Airport’s entry into the stock market is one of the components to help it proceed with its investment activity, aiming to increase its capacity,” Elias Kikilias, General Manager of the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation, or INSETE, said.

“The outlook for the airport is very positive and it’s linked to the wider outlook for tourism, which is also very good,” he told the news agency, with the airport rated among the best and most efficient in Europe.

The Athens Airport is more than just an area for arriving and departing passengers since “it controls a broader area around the terminal with a hotel, exhibition spaces, and large shopping malls,” Kikilias said.

That means it effectively serves an area with almost 6 million inhabitants, more than half of Greece’s population. A three-phase expansion is planned to increase the terminal’s capacity to 50 million passengers by 2046. That includes an extension of the central terminal, a new parking runway for 32 aircraft, a new VIP terminal, and a multi-story parking lot.

In the last five years, the airport has added 69 new destinations to its network and developed partnerships with 32 new airlines, making it the 9th busiest in Europe, according to OAG’s Megahubs 2023 ranking.

Not everyone is impressed. “For a long time, I’ve thought its services were expensive and I’m not impressed by the drop-off charges or its short-time limit,” said Myriam Fotou, who uses the airport to fly between Athens and London.

A huge interactive video wall on the way to the airport’s baggage claims area carries realistic-looking waves gently tumbling on the floor, making a soothing sound and transporting the visitor to a beach, the report added.

RELATED

Demolition teams with a police escort who went to a beach on Crete to take down unlawful businesses were stymied by hundreds of people who prevented them from carrying out the actions.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Farmers from 10 EU Countries Join Forces – and Tractors – to Protest Agricultural Policies

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech farmers were driving their tractors and other vehicles to several border crossings on Thursday to meet their colleagues from neighboring countries and join forces in their protests against European Union agriculture policies, bureaucracy and overall conditions for their business.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Doc Rivers’ arrival was supposed to assure that the Milwaukee Bucks would develop into one of the NBA’s most dangerous teams by the time the postseason arrives.

PARIS (AP) — Kylian Mbappé has 12 matches left to play in the French league.

ANAHUAC, Texas (AP) — A trial is set to be held Thursday to determine if a Black high school student in Texas can continue being punished by his district for refusing to change his hairstyle, which he and his family say is protected by a new state law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination.

MEDELLIN, Colombia (AP) — The lush valley enveloping Medellin was once the heart of a brutal war involving the Colombian government, drug cartels and a smattering of other armed groups.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.