(Adds details on debt, airports, share sale)
MADRID, July 22 Spain's state-owned AENA has
appointed banks Santander, BBVA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch,
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to run a process in which just
under half the company will be privatised, the airport operator
said on Tuesday.
Spain aims to sell up to 49 percent of heavily-indebted
AENA, the world's biggest airports operator, through a placement
of up to 21 percent with institutional investors and selling the
remainder through an initial public offering.
The government has said the aim of the sale is to make the
company more efficient and attract more tourist flights. AENA
owns 46 airports at home and also has international interests
such as a stake in London's Luton Airport.
The government is expected to net only about 2.2 billion
euros ($2.97 billion) from the sale, given the company's debt of
some 11.5 billion euros, according to calculations by sector
experts. This is not enough to make a major dent in Spain's
Just 13 of the 46 Spanish airports were profitable in 2013,
including Madrid, Barcelona and tourist destinations such as
Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza and Tenerife.
AENA made a profit of 597 million euros in 2013, after huge
cost reductions including staff cuts and after benefiting from
airport tax hikes, up from a 215 million euro loss in 2011.
Spain is the world's third-biggest tourist destination
behind France and the United States. AENA is the biggest airport
operator in the world in terms of passengers, handling 187.4
million travellers last year.
France and Germany have both partially privatised their
($1 = 0.7418 Euros)
(Editing by Louise Heavens)