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Prague - The cabinet may get EUR 2.4-2.8 billion (CZK 60.5-70.6 billion) if it sells its 100% stake in the Prague Airport directly to a new owner, a study by Credit Suisse, which has drafted a financial analysis on the privatisation for the cabinet, has shown.
Ministers approved Monday a direct sale of the airport to a strategic investor. They also empowered Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek to start choosing the chief adviser on the privatisation.
The Credit Suisse study says the airport should be privatised by end-March 2009.
Direct sale best
Experts said a direct sale was the most advantageous. If the airport were sold only through the stock exchange, its value would decrease by about 40% - to EUR 1.3-1.5 billion.
But Kalousek hopes the state will get more. Several weeks ago, he told the E15 weekly he expected bids topping CZK 100 billion. "If the price is lower than CZK 100 billion, I will recommend to the cabinet not to sell," he said.
Many foreign investors interested in Prague's largest airport are probably forming consortia. Names mentioned in this context include Hochtief, Fraport corporation, Macquarie, and BAA.
All these companies have experience running big airports. Germany's Hochtief AirPort co-owns the Budapest, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Sydney airports. BAA runs London Heathrow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen.
Some of the potential bidders are expected to team up with a strong Czech financial group for the bidding - such as Penta Investments or PPF Investments. Both have suggested they are interested in the airport.
The Prague Airport ended 2007 with profits worth CZK 1.11 billion. It cleared almost 12.5 million passengers.
Adapted and republished by the Prague Daily Monitor