Greece sells 30% stake in Athens airport operator, drawing strong investor interest

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece completed a major privatization Friday, selling its 30% stake in the biggest airport operator in the tourism-reliant country during an initial public offering, officials said.

Shares in Athens International Airport are expected to begin trading on the Athens stock exchange starting Wednesday, the airport said in a statement.

Finance Minister Costis Hadzidakis said the listing of a new blue chip stock would provide a strong boost to Greek capital markets.

The initial public offering drew demand that exceeded the number of shares available, raising 785 million euros ($848 million) for Greece’s state HRADF privatization fund.

The share price was set at 8.20 euros, at the top end of the range envisaged by HRADF, implying a market capitalization of 2.46 billion euros for the airport.

Some 32 million tourists visited Greece in 2023, up from about 28 million a year earlier. Overall traffic at Greek airports hit a historic high of 72.6 million people last year, up 14% on the year, according to Greece’s civil aviation authority.

During Greece’s 2010-18 financial crisis, the country privatized a broad raft of state assets. The process has continued at a slower pace since, with the state recently offloading its stakes in major Greek banks and pressing ahead with harbor and highway concession deals.

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