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Spain takes steps toward airport privatisation

Source: Reuters - Fri 10th Jun 2011

Spain has taken a step toward privatisating its airports authority by creating a new holding company called Aena Aeropuertos with a 2.6 billion euro book value.

Spain wants to privatise up to 49% of AENA and auction its assets in an effort to cut public debt.

AENA will announce the mandate for the sale next week, with nine investment banks competing for the task, though with a slew of Spanish assets coming onto the market, chairman Juan Ignacio Lema said there was no hurry for a sale this year.

"If maximising the price for AENA means that the stock market listing takes place in 2012, it'll be in 2012, or in 2013 or 2014," Lema told reporters. He also left the door open to a private placement.

The privatisation of an AENA stake will be carried out independently from the planned auction of Madrid's Barajas airport and Barcelona's El Prat, which Lema said he hoped would be completed in December.

The sales coincide with the government's plans to privatise the Spanish lottery and the stockmarket listing of several savings banks.

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