Air Freight News

Athens airport stock rises in debut on Greek stock exchange

Shares of Athens International Airport SA jumped 15% at the start of trading on the Athens Stock Exchange, in the country’s biggest initial public offering in more than two decades. 

The stock opened at €9.40 a share, compared with the IPO price of €8.20, the high end of the initial range, and later pared gains slightly to trade up 12% at 4:20 p.m. in Athens. The move came as the benchmark ASE Index slipped 0.9% after touching its highest intraday level since May 2011. 

“Greece becoming investment grade last year was a big push; investors are keen to deploy more into the region,” Marco Guarino, executive director at Morgan Stanley’s equity syndicate desk for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in an interview. “We will see more activity coming from Greece this year, particularly from privatizations.” The bank was joint global coordinator on the offering along with BofA Securities.

The Greek state raised €785 million ($843 million) last week through the sale of its 30% stake in the 23-year-old airport, known as Eleftherios Venizelos. Investor demand exceeded the amount on offer within hours of books opening. The IPO is just one of the latest signs that Greece’s economy, which outperformed most of its European peers last year, has made a comeback in the market more than 10 years after its financial crisis. 

The Athens Airport IPO is the biggest in Europe since the flotation of Schott Pharma AG & Co. KGaA in September, a deal which raised €935 million and was Germany’s biggest of 2023. The airport’s stock started trading on one of the busiest days for the European IPO market in recent months.

In Frankfurt, industrial machinery maker Renk AG opened 17% higher at €17.50, up from the listing price of €15. Renk’s private equity owner Triton raised €500 million in the share sale, which had been delayed from last year due to stock market volatility. 

And in Amsterdam, Cypriot defense company Theon International Plc was trading little changed on its first day on the market after paring initial gains of as much as 4%. 

Cornerstone Investor

AviAlliance, which already had a 40% stake in Athens Airport, was a cornerstone investor in the Greek IPO and bought a further 10% at a €9.758 per share price, translating to a 19% premium. The company holds interests in five airports, including Budapest, Duesseldorf, Hamburg and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is owned by the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) of Canada.

Since the start of this year, the Athens benchmark stock index has risen 7.6%, one of the top 10 performers in the world and coming after a 39% gain in 2023. Last week, Greece also made its first new bond sale since it regained investment grade status, attracting €35 billion in orders. 

Bloomberg
Bloomberg

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© Bloomberg
The author’s opinion are not necessarily the opinions of the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT).

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