Russia’s VTB Bank has sold to foreign investors 25% of shares in Northern Capital Gateway (NCG), which manages St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport, TASS newswire reports, citing Igor Artemyev, head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service. The value of the transaction was 240 million euros. VTB still holds a 25.01% share in NCG.
As had been expected, the shares were bought by a consortium consisting of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Mubadala Development Company of the UAE, several Middle Eastern and Asian investors, and also Baring Vostok an associated funds. The deal was approved by the government commission for foreign investment control.
The other stakeholders and their shares remain unchanged: 25% in
NCG is owned by German transport company Fraport, and a further 24.99% by the Qatar Investment Authority. Fraport keeps itts status as the airport’s operator. The new investors are planning to participate in NCG corporate governance and in defining the airport’s development strategy.
VTB has been reducing its original 57.5% share in Pulkovo since last summer. Fraport has also ceded 10,5% of its initial stake. Two more foreign stakeholders, the Copelouzos family (Greece) and Cypriot company Koltseva Holdings Ltd., abondoned the project.
Pulkovo is Russia’s fourth largest airport by passenger traffic after the three Moscow airports (Ssheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo). Last year it reported a 1.7% year-on-year decrease in passenger traffic to 13.265 million. In the first five months of 2017 Pulkovo saw its traffic climb 26% to 5.443 million passengers.
Pulkovo is considered to have high potential as a connection hub for flights to Europe. However, industry experts believe that the airport’s further development is being hindered by the strategy of Aeroflot Group, the parent company of Pulkovo-based carrier Rossiya Airlines. Aeroflot traditionally focuses on developing its Moscow hubs, which also affects Rossiya’s route network. Pulkovo, for its part, is taking measures to attract international airlines.
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