Two investors in Istanbul Airport have decided to sell their shares, a report said Tuesday, in an exit that will see Kalyon Holding securing its spot as the majority shareholder in the joint venture operating the airport.
Limak Yatırım Holding and Mapa Inşaat are selling their stakes of 20% each in the IGA Havalimanı Işletmeleri, the company founded in 2013 to construct and operate the airport, the Turkish Sabah daily reported.
Their shares will be purchased by the other two partners, Kalyon and Cengiz Inşaat, it noted. The transaction, subject to the approval of the Competition Authority (RK), will see the holdings of the two raising to 55% and 45%, respectively.
The consortium that had made the winning 22.15 billion euro ($24.5 billion) bid back in May 2013 to build and operate the airport consisted of Kalyon, Limak, Kolin, Cengiz and Mapa. Kolin sold its 20% stake to Kaylon and Cengiz in 2019, lifting their holdings in IGA to 35% and 25%, respectively.
The consortium is subject to paying around 1.1 billion euros annually for 25 years.
The gleaming glass-and-steel structure along the Black Sea coast was officially declared open in late October 2018, before becoming fully operational in April. It reflected the emergence of Istanbul, Europe’s largest city straddling Europe and Asia, as a major regional transport hub.
Istanbul Airport can handle 90 million passengers a year in the current phase, which, while it is a high figure, is nothing compared to its potential capacity to serve 200 million after the completion of all phases, making it the world’s largest.
All four phases of the airport’s construction and expansion, including six runways, are expected to be completed by 2028.
The airport handled nearly 37 million passengers last year despite disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to data compiled from the Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), making it Europe’s busiest for the second year running.
The passenger traffic was still 46% lower compared to pre-pandemic (2019) levels.
It first grabbed the title of Europe’s busiest airport in 2020 – just a year after it opened – thanks to Turkey’s decision to allow travelers to freely enter the country in a bid to boost tourism revenues. It had served around 23.4 million passengers in 2020.