Sberbank is tired of selling its stake in Basel Aero

For one and a half year, there were no people willing to buy a stake in Basel Aero.
Sberbank no longer sells its 20% minus 1 share in Basel Aero holding - this asset is no longer on the market, a top airport manager told Vedomosti. The information was confirmed by a person close to the “Basic Element” of Oleg Deripaska. This holding owns 50% plus 1 share of Basel Aero, 30% of Singapore's Changi (owns and operates the Singapore airport).

Basel Aero owns airports in Sochi, Krasnodar and Anapa; it had previously included Gelendzhik Airport, but this year VTB and the former president of Olympstroy, Teimuraz Bolloev, bought it out from Basel Aero.

Sberbank has been searching for a buyer for at least one and a half years, Basic Element itself took an active part in the search, the Vedomosti interviewees told, with one bidder the negotiations reached an advanced stage.

Basel Aero is a good asset, Sberbank decided not to part with it, says a person close to Basic Element.

The Sochi airport is especially valuable, the top manager of a large airport agrees: the Olympic legacy really works, the city is developing as a year-round resort - why sell?

Sochi Airport in 2016 became the fifth in Russia in terms of passenger traffic - after three Moscow and Pulkovo - and holds this position. In January - August of this year, it received 4.4 million passengers, and all three airports of the holding - 8.3 million.

The remaining shareholders of Basel Aero were interested primarily in leaving Sberbank from the airport holding, the Vedomosti interlocutors said, the bank bought this share in 2012 for $ 120 million, these were preferred shares, the money paid for them was classified as an internal loan, for him, Basel Aero paid Sberbank 12% per annum. The conditions are burdensome, but at the time of the transaction in 2012, Basic Element had no choice, the Vedomosti interlocutors explained: it was urgent to complete the reconstruction of the Sochi airport for the Olympics.

Sberbank was selling expensive, so its Basic Element itself did not buy its package, an employee of the holding said.

On August 24, 2018, the shareholders of the Cyprus Transport AMD - 2 (parent company of Basel Aero holding), according to the Cyprus registry, entered into a new shareholder agreement: Sberbank's preferred shares will be converted into ordinary shares of the same nominal value, if Sberbank does not present the company whole package or part of it for redemption.

The bank converts its shares into ordinary shares, says a person close to the “Basic Element”. Representatives of Basic Element and Sberbank declined to comment. The payment period for the Sberbank package was five years (since the summer of 2012), according to the new agreement, it did not make sense for Sberbank to continue to remain a preferred shareholder.

“The airports of Krasnodar and Sochi are the key elements of the aviation infrastructure of the south of Russia, the demand for participation in their capital should be high,” said ACRA analyst Alexander Gushchin. “But there is a sanction history (from April, Deripaska and his companies, including Basic Element, are on the American sanction list. - Vedomosti), it could affect negotiations with new investors, so the composition of shareholders of the holding has not changed” .

“The airports of the south are a promising and rising asset, traffic is growing there, and the state is concerned about the development of the Krasnodar Territory,” agrees Aton analyst Mikhail Ganelin. “But the sanctions could really affect the decision of Sberbank, the buyer could demand a discount for sanctions risks.” According to the indicators of 2017, even without taking into account the significant balances of money in the accounts of Basel Aero, the total business of the three airports Gushchin estimates at 50 billion rubles.

According to SPARK-Interfax, the total revenue of the three airports in 2017 under RAS amounted to 9.4 billion rubles, net profit - 3.2 billion. The funds in their accounts reached 9.6 billion, and the bank debt was 5, 2 billion rubles.