Greece put up a 30% stake in Athens International Airport SA, subsequently drawing strong investor interest.
Athens International Airport SA shares had a staggering start on the stock exchange in the Greek capital, following strong investor interest in what is being called the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in two decades in the country.
The price soared by 15% at the start of the trading, Bloomberg reported.
It comes after Greece completed a major privatisation last Friday, selling its 30% stake in the biggest airport operator in the tourism-reliant country during an initial public offering, releasing the shares on the Athens stock exchange on Wednesday.
The trade started at €9.40, which proved to be higher than the initial IPO price of €8.20 (for which specific investors could buy before the stocks were made available to the public). The initial price implied a market capitalisation of €2.46 billion for the airport.
The initial public offering drew high demand, raising €785 million for Greece’s state HRADF privatisation fund for selling the state-owned 30% of the 23-year-old airport.
The success is seen as one of the latest signs that Greece’s economy is very much back on track after suffering serious damage 10 years ago due to the financial crisis.
Some 32 million tourists visited Greece in 2023, up from about 28 million a year earlier. Overall traffic at Greek airports hit a historic high of 72.6 million people last year, up 14% on the year, cited AP Greece’s civil aviation authority’s figures.
During Greece’s 2010-18 financial crisis, the country privatised a broad raft of state assets. The process has continued at a slower pace since, with the state recently offloading its stakes in major Greek banks and pressing ahead with harbour and highway concession deals.