Canadian Pensions Refuse to Sell Budapest Airport Despite Government Pressure

Posted on 05/28/2021


Sovereign funds and public pensions have significant exposure to European airports and have incurred economic losses during the COVID-19 pandemic as air travel withered. In 2020, Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport posted a loss of 110 million euros. The airport operator invested 167 million euros in airport development over the past two years.

The airport operator in Budapest is owned by Düsseldorf-based AviAlliance, a German-based airport management company, the largest shareholder at 55.44%. Minority shareholders in the Budapest airport operator are Singapore’s GIC Private Limited and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Disclosed on September 27, 2013, Essen-based HOCHTIEF Aktiengesellschaft sold its airport business HOCHTIEF AirPort GmbH to Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) for approximately 1.1 billion euros.

Hungary’s government is seeking to acquire a majority stake in the operator of Budapest Airport, even though the current owners do not want to sell. The cabinet gave Hungarian Innovation and Technology Minister László Palkovics a mandate to begin discussions with the current owners.

On June 6, 2007, BAA and a consortium led by HOCHTIEF AirPort (HTA) formally closed and completed the transaction of the sale of BAA’s shares in Budapest Airport to the HOCHTIEF AirPort Consortium. The ownership of the HOCHTIEF AirPort Consortium at the time follows: HOCHTIEF AirPort (49.666%) and three financial investors: Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (23.167%), GIC Private Limited (23.167%), and KfW IPEX-Bank, Frankfurt (4.0%).

At May 31, 2017, AviAlliance (PSP Investments) also owns stakes in:
Athens International Airport 26.667% directly, 13.333% via AviAlliance Capital GmbH & Co. KGaA
Düsseldorf Airport 20% directly, 10% via AviAlliance Capital GmbH & Co. KGaA
Hamburg Airport 34.8% directly, 14.2% via AviAlliance Capital GmbH & Co. KGaA. City of Hamburg owns 51%.
San Juan Airport 40%.

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