Vinci Takes 20% Stake in Budapest Airport, Partnering with Hungarian State

Kevin Rozario


June 12, 2024

BUD skycourt winter

Budapest Airport is set to exceed 2019 traffic this year.

© Budapest Airport

Vinci Airports—with operations in Portugal, the United Kingdom, France, and Serbia—has consolidated its presence in Europe by extending its reach to Hungary through a 20% stake in Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport (BUD).

The airports division (a subsidiary of Vinci Concessions), together with Corvinus, an investment fund fully owned and managed by the Hungarian state, have jointly closed the acquisition of the BUD concessionaire. The sellers comprised a consortium composed of AviAlliance, Malton, and CDPQ.

The equity value of the 100% transaction is €3.1 billion (US$3.35 billion), plus net debt of €1.2 billion (US$1.3 billion) at the end of 2023). When the deal was announced on June 6, Vinci’s share price plunged by over 11% from €113.70, most likely due to the debt profile. Today the stock of the French infrastructure firm closed at just over €103, after its first day showing a slight rebound.

BUD is in a post-pandemic recovery phase, after “one of the toughest periods in its history” in the airport’s own words. The gateway managed to turn a net profit of €74 million in 2023 (with EBITDA of €211 million) on net revenue of €338 million, up by 20%. Over the past two years, the airport has reduced its losses accumulated during COVID19 to €47 million.

Vinci Airports and Corvinus purchased BUD on a pro-rata basis, rolling over the existing debt of the company. The residual term of the concession is over 55 years (expiring in 2080). On completion of the transaction, Corvinus will own 80% of the concessionaire and Vinci Airports 20%.

At 150 Million and Climbing

Based on 2023 data, the deal means that Vinci is handling more than 150 million passengers across Europe. BUD, a key gateway in central-eastern Europe, saw passenger traffic last year exceed expectations to reach 14.7 million, but this is still below 2019’s pre-pandemic high of 16 million.

This year the airport is forecasting a number approaching 17 million, having exceeded 2019 traffic by more than 8% in the first four months of 2024 (year over year).

bud skycourt retail area

Budapest's Skycourt and its shopping facilities.

BUD serves the capital city of Hungary, however, it is also the country’s primary point of entry by air, handling 96% of air traffic.

Commenting, on May 31, on the investments made at the airport last year, Kam Jandu, CEO of Budapest Airport, said: “BUD was voted the best airport in Europe last year, and this year we won the best airport in Eastern Europe for the eleventh time. The industry has also acknowledged the significant improvements resulting from our investments by upgrading the quality rating of the airport to four stars.”

Targeting Passenger Services

ACI’s ASQ (airport service quality) results for the first quarter of 2024 also ranked BUD first among 20 peer airports ahead of Prague, Alicante, and Barcelona, for example. “This is the first time in the history of the airport that we have achieved this prestigious position,” said Jandu.

In a statement, Vinci Airports said that as the platform operator, it would deploy a model aiming to “improve the customer experience and support traffic growth through appropriate investment.” An action plan will also be rolled out to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, it added.

With BUD onboard, Vinci Airports now has 26 airport platforms in Europe. The global airport network handled 267 million passengers in 2023, up 26%. Airports in Portugal, Serbia (Belgrade), and Central America (Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica) achieved passenger numbers in excess of their 2019 levels.

Parent company, Vinci, a global player in concessions, energy, and construction, generated revenue in 2023 of €68.8 billion, up 11.6%. Of this, the concessions segment contributed almost €11 billion. Concessions increased its operating income substantially, offsetting the impact of higher interest rates thanks mainly to recovering traffic and an eye on cost control.