Athens International Airport shares surge following Greece’s most successful IPO in decades

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Shares in Athens International Airport started trading at prices 14% higher on their first day of trading on Thursday, following the transport hub’s initial public offering (IPO) last week, in what has become Greece’s most successful public float in decades. 

Athens International Airport shares were floated on the Athens Stock Exchange at prices of €8.20 each last Friday, following the Greek government’s decision to sell a 30% stake in the country’s major transport hub. 

Now, shares in the airport are trading at prices 14% higher than those offered during the IPO, at €9.37 each, following the commencement of public trading of the stock on Greece’s main stock exchange on Thursday.

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), which is tasked with privatizing Greek state-owned assets, previously set the IPO price at the top of its €7- €8.2 range, due to high levels of interest from investors.  

HRADF was set up by the Greek government in 2011, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, with a view to privatizing certain state-owned assets and attracting investment into the country’s economy.   

The Greek state raised €785 million from the sale of the 30% stake in Greece’s largest airport, which was first built in 2001 ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics. 

German airport operator AviAlliance, which already owned a 40% stake in the airport, was a major driver of demand in making use of its right to buy an additional 10% stake in transport hub, in purchasing shares at €9.758 per share.

The Copelouzos family, who are one of Greece’s richest families through their ownership of the Copelouzos Group infrastructure investment company, owns a further 5% stake in the airport.

The Athens International Airport’s public float has now become the most successful initial public offering (IPO) in Europe in 2024 so far, having raised more money than any float since Germany’s Schott Pharma made €935 million in September 2023. 

The IPO has also become Greece’s most successful float in decades, in a sign the country’s economy is now starting to recover from the financial crash which devastated the economy after 2009 and the eurozone crisis of 2012.

Athens International Airport is currently Europe’s 18th busiest airport, having hosted 28 million travelers in 2023, including 35% of all passengers visiting Greece, according to figures from the country’s Civil Aviation Authority.

The airport IPO follows an underwhelming year for public floats in 2023 that is expected to continue into 2024, amid major interest rate hikes by central banks worldwide. IPOs worldwide raised just $123.2 billion in 2023, compared to $184.3 billion in 2022 and 459.9 billion in 2021, figures from consultancy EY show.

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