FNM withdraws from contract on sale of Bratislava airport

THE PRESIDIUM of the National Property Fund (FNM) privatization agency decided on September 13 to withdraw from a contract on the sale of a 66-percent stake in Bratislava’s M.R. Štefánik Airport to the TwoOne consortium.

The contract was originally signed on February 10 following a privatization tender between the FNM, the Transport Ministry and the BTS Holding company, representing TwoOne.

After months studying the deal, the Antitrust Bureau (PMÚ) competition authority forbade the sale of the 66-percent stake to the consortium on September 11. The Bureau explained that the transaction, in putting Bratislava airport under the authority of Vienna airport, a member of TwoOne, would have eliminated the sole effective competitor to Vienna airport and held back the development of Bratislava airport.

The TwoOne consortium consists of the Slovak capital group Penta Investments, the Austrian Raiffeisen Zentralbank, and Vienna airport.

The verdict has not yet taken effect, as the parties concerned have 15 days to appeal it. The consortium has already said it will appeal the verdict to the PMÚ Council.

Penta regards the FNM’s decision to pull out of the Bratislava airport privatization contract as invalid, and has said in the past it will take Slovakia to the International Court of Arbitration in Paris over the matter.

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