The Athens International Airport (AIA) shares made a spectacular debut on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with its price rising more than 14 percent in midday transactions in heavy trading of more than 50 million euros.
This follows after Greece completed a major privatization last Friday, selling its 30 percent stake in the biggest airport operator in the country during an initial public offering, releasing the shares on the Athens stock exchange.
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 capitalization of €2.46 billion for the airport.
The initial public offering drew high demand, raising €785 million for Greece’s state HRADF privatization fund for selling the state-owned 30 percent 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 setbacks ten years ago due to the financial crisis.
“Huge success” for Athens Airport and the Athens Stock Exchange
Greek National Economy and Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, in addressing a ceremony for the listing of AIA on the main market, said it was a huge success both for the company and the Athens Stock Exchange and a historic moment for the country’s course.
He noted that the Greek state will collect 785 million euros from the IPO and stressed that the success of the Athens Airport, along with a series of other privatizations (National Bank, Eurobank, Alpha Bank, Helleniq Energy, Attica Road, etc.) reflected investors’ confidence in the Greek economy.
Athens Exchange Group CEO G. Kontopoulos said the listing of Athens International Airport on the market was pivotal not only for the company and the stock market but for the Greek economy as well, and it sends a message about Greece’s investment dynamism.
He added that the listing is the largest in the last eighteen years, adding 2.5 billion euros to the market’s capitalization.
Ioannis Paraschis, CEO of AIA, said the listing on the Athens Stock Exchange was a milestone for the company, adding that the airport will offer high-quality services, creating value for shareholders and the Greek economy in general.
Passenger traffic sets record in 2023
In late November, Greece passed the final hurdle when the European Commission approved the plan for the listing of Athens International Airport on the Stock Exchange.
Passenger traffic at the Athens International Airport set a new record in 2023, totaling 28,174,150 passengers, breaking the twenty-eight million passengers barrier for the first time and surpassing the previous 2019 record of 25.57 million.
The number of flights totaled 241,604 in 2023. This was an increase of 13.2 percent from 2022 and 7.1 percent from 2019. Both domestic and international flights rose 7.4 percent and 18.1 percent respectively compared with 2022 and rose by 10.5 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, compared with 2019.