China Everbright Limited completes acquisition of Tirana International Airport

China Everbright Limited completes acquisition of Tirana International Airport
By bne IntelliNews October 8, 2016

Hong Kong-based investment and asset management company China Everbright Limited (CEL) has completed the acquisition of 100% of Tirana International Airport (TIA), the airport's management said on October 7. 

China Everbright said in April that its joint venture with Friedmann Pacific had signed an agreement to acquire TIA as part of its plans for global expansion. In June, Albania’s Competition Authority approved the TIA sale under a concession agreement. 

“We are thrilled to announce an era of transformation with China Everbright Limited,” TIA’s CEO Rolf Castro-Vasquez said in the statement.

The size of the deal was not disclosed, but according to local media TIA was sold for $90mn. 

Castro-Vasquez said he expected further growth under the new shareholder, by delivering what "travellers need and wish for”.

"CEL is delighted to have completed the acquisition of the TIA. The acquisition is a proactive corporate approach to identify good infrastructure investment opportunities, which is in line with China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative, “ CEL’s CEO Chen Shuang was quoted as saying.

He added that the acquisition is the first move of the China Everbright Overseas Infrastructure Fund, which is currently being set up.

Mother Teresa International Airport in Tirana has been managed by TIA since April 2005. Its shareholders were AviAlliance, DEG -Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) and the Albanian-American Enterprise Fund (AAEF).

Since it took over Tirana airport, TIA increased the number of passengers to over 1.9mn a year from only 600,000. Since 2005, over €70mn has been invested in developing and expanding the airport.

TIA is one of the most profitable companies in the country. In 2015 it had a turnover of ALL4.9bn (€35.5mn) while its profit rose 31% y/y to €11.2mn.

Tirana airport had exclusive rights over international flights to and from Albania, but in April the Albanian transport ministry announced it had reached an agreement with the operator to remove its special rights, which paved the way for other airports to open in the country. 

CEL, established in 1997, is the international investment arm of the China Everbright Group, a diversified financial services company.

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