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May 31, 2021

Hungarian state seeks controlling stake in Budapest Airport

Hungarian state does not hold any stake in the airport, which was privatised in 2005.

The Government of Hungary is reportedly planning to pick a controlling stake in Budapest Airport, which has been hit by travel curbs due to the pandemic last year.

Currently, Canadian pension investment management group PSP is the majority stakeholder in the airport with a holding of just over 55%.

Singapore’s GIC Special Investments and Canada’s Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec each have a 20% stake in the airport.

As of now, the Hungarian government does not hold any stake in the airport.

According to pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet, the Hungarian government recently started investing in many key sectors.

Citing some unspecified industry sources, Magyar Nemzet reported that the government is planning to initiate talks to acquire a majority stake in the airport, which was privatised in 2005.

Innovation and Technology Minister Laszlo Palkovics will handle the process on behalf of the Hungarian state, reported Reuters.

The Budapest Airport’s press office did not confirm the news.

The airport has incurred a loss of $134m (€110m) in 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak and the resultant travel restrictions dented its revenues.

Prior to the pandemic, Budapest Airport benefitted because of a boom in low-cost travel.

Last November, the Hungarian government reportedly blocked Budapest Airport, the largest airport in the country, from accessing Covid-19 funding from a financial institution.

According to a Bloomberg report, the airport sought a short-term loan of €50m ($58m) from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The funding would have been used to improve the airport’s financial situation, pay salaries and ensure business continuity amid the Covid-19 pandemic that crushed travel demand.

However, the Hungarian Government directed EBRD’s decision-making body earlier this year to remove Budapest Airport’s application, according to the report.

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