Spain Values Airport Operator at Up to $10 Billion in IPO

Spain’s forthcoming sale of a stake in Aena SA will value the airport operator at as much as 8.03 billion euros ($10 billion), according to a government adviser.

Spain will sell up to 28 percent of Aena in an initial public offering at 41.50 euros to 53.50 euros per share including a 2.55 percent over-allotment of shares to underwriters, according to an advisory body that helps the government with sales of state-owned companies. The bottom of the forecast range would value Aena at 6.23 billion euros.

The Spanish government is betting that investors will sustain their interest in Aena, which says it’s the biggest airport operator in the world by passenger volume, even as appetite for European IPOs fades on concerns that the region’s economic recovery is stalling. Spain’s cabinet didn’t approve the IPO today, said a spokeswoman for the government who asked not to be identified.

IPOs in Europe raised about $65 billion this year, almost double what companies sold in 2013 and the most in any year since 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yet the last few weeks have seen companies including Molecular Partners AG and BCA Marketplace Plc scrap planned sales as investor appetite fades on concern the region’s economic recovery is coming to a standstill.

Of the offer amount, 9 percent will be sold to retail investors, 1 percent to employees and 90 percent to professional investors, the Privatizations Consultative Council said. Spain has already chosen Corporacion Financiera Alba SA, a unit of Ferrovial SA and the Children’s Investment Fund as core investors for Aena with a combined 21 percent stake.

Aena transported 187 million passengers in 2013, a decline of 3.5 percent from the previous year.

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