GMR sells stake in Istanbul airport for euro 225 million

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 24 2013, 17:01pm hrs
GMRGMR sold its 40% stake in the Sabiha G?k?en Int'l Airport to Malaysia Airport Holdings. Reuters Photo
GMR Infrastructure has exited the Sabiha Gken International Airport in Istanbul by selling its 40 per cent stake for euro 225 million (roughly Rs 1,900 crore) to Malaysia Airport Holdings.

With this sale, the Bangalore-based company will exit its second international airport venture.

It was forced out of its other venture, the Male International Airport, by the Maldives government.

At Sabiha Gken International Airport, Malaysia Airport Holdings currently holds 20 per cent stake, while a Limak Construction, a Turkish company holds 40 per cent.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) said in a regulatory filing that its indirectly wholly owned subsidiary MAMSC, involved in the business of investment holding, will buy GMRs stake in the Turkish airport company.

MAHB decided to buy the stake using its right-of first-refusal (RoFR) after the GMR Group had reportedly entered into a definitive agreement with Turkey's TAV Airports Holdings.

On December 3, 2013, a prospective investor of Sabiha Airport entered into a share purchase agreement with the GMR Group to acquire the acquisition shares for a total consideration of euro 2,25,000,000. The completion of such share purchase agreement was conditional, amongst other matters, on MAHB not exercising its RoFR in relation to the acquisition shares. On December 23, 2013, MAHB exercised its RoFR through MAMSC, MAHB said in a regulatory filing.

The GMR Infrastructure consortium had entered this project in May 2008 and has the rights to operate Sabiha Gken Airport till 2030.

Calls, messages and emails sent to the GMR Group did not elicit any response.

The GMR Group has a debt burden of around Rs 41,000 crore and a part of the proceeds from the transaction reportedly will be used retire a portion of the debt.

The group may also use the funds to increase its shareholding in Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).

The company is reportedly in discussions to buy out Malaysia Airports' 10 per cent stake in DIAL.

The GMR Group may also use the proceeds to buy up the 10 per cent stake that Fraport AG holds in DIAL.

The German airport operator has indicated in the past that it would exit the venture after the lock-in period of its shareholding expires in May 2014.

If both these transactions are concluded, GMR's shareholding in Delhi airport will rise to 74 per cent from the current 54 per cent.

In India, the GMR Group also operates the Hyderabad airport.