AENA’s Part-privatisation Can Still be Counted a Success, Four Years on

AENA’s partial privatisation was approved by Spain’s Council of Ministers in June 2014, having dated back to 2011 (when an original proposal would have had Madrid and Barcelona airports only privatised) and having followed a stop-start path to the bitter end, in February 2015. The Spanish Government eventually retained a 51% stake, the remainder of the equity either going to a small number of core investors or being stock market floated (28%) and snapped up by institutions.

Those core investors included Spanish organisation, Ferrovial and Alba, but also a UK-based hedge fund with no prior knowledge of the sector. This seemed to set out AENA’s stall for its future management as apart from Ferrovial there was no such external experience at all. The management of AENA would carry on as it had done before.

The procedure required, and got, new laws to underpin the regulation under which AENA works, its ability to set tariffs and to dispose of airports. They were quite draconian in some cases but not to the extent that they either put off investors or diminished the ultimate success of the procedure.

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