One airport for three

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"Bazovy element", RDIF and Singapore Changi will become the new owners of Vladivostok International Airport. The contract value can amount to about 6 billion rubles. Ready infrastructure, potential growth of passenger traffic and high profitability of the airport business in general will allow the consortium to cover the costs quickly and start generating profit, experts say.

Moscow International Airport Sheremetyevo (MASh) which holds shares of Vladivostok Airport and constructed there a new terminal before the APEC summit gets rid of a non-core asset. The shares of JSC "Vladivostok International Airport" and CJSC "Terminal Vladivostok" were purchased by Cantua Investment Limited - a consortium of three companies: "Bazel", the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and one of the world's largest airport carries Singapore Changi.

Several strong players of airport business took part in the tender for purchasing shares: the holding "Aeroporty regionov" which is part of Viktor Vekselberg`s "Renova", Roman Trotsenko`s "Novaport" and "Aeroinvest" (affiliated with the "Sindika" holding of senator Arsen Kanokov). But in the end money decided on the winner. According to "Gazeta.Ru" the winner could offer 6 billion rubles for the shares.

To manage the airport a team will be formed bringing together Vladivostok Airport experts, Changi specialists with global practices in managing airports, as well as professionals of the airport holding "Bazel Aero".

The consortium expects to develop the airport as a major international hub in the Far East of Russia with the participation of leading Asian carriers, says the representative of "Bazovy element". "Vladivostok Airport has the potential to become a key Russian hub of Asia-Pacific transport and logistics network, says CEO of RDIF Kirill Dmitriev. More than 400 million people live about one-or-two-hour flight from Vladivostok".

There`re all the conditions for creating such a hub: apart from the new terminal constructed by MASh, the landing ground was modernized, which allows Vladivostok Airport to accept aircrafts of all types. And the most important thing is that in 2012 Vladivostok Airport introduced the Open Skies regime for the APEC summit: now planes belonging to any airline company can land there. Apart from Vladivostok Airport only Sochi and Kaliningrad airports can boast such favorable conditions.

In the future, the consortium plans to introduce scheduled flights to more than 15 destinations, including India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore. Participation of Changi will attract new carriers. Such foreign airlines as South Korean “Korean Air” and “Asiana Airlines”, Chinese “China Southern Airlines” and North Korean “Air Koryo” already cooperate with the airport. And finally, the consortium expects to increase freight traffic and to build transport and logistics centers in the airport in the future.

The strategy of the airport development involves expansion of the terminal as passenger traffic grows. Now passenger traffic of Vladivostok Airport is about 1.7 million passengers a year. "We expect the next investment in 2020," says the source in "Bazel" to "Gazety.Ru".

The previous owner sold the assets quite successfully, experts believe. "By getting rid of the non-core asset Sheremetyevo will cover the money spent on the construction in Vladivostok. And reduction in the debt burden will allow to raise money for their own development in the future," says the head of the analytical service of the "Aviaport" agency Oleg Panteleyev.

The deal is profitable for the buyer as well. "An asset that doesn`t need money investments is rarely put up for sale. It is ready to generate impressive revenue," explains the expert. Of course, there`s debt burden left for building a new terminal. "Sheremetyevo" took out a loan from VEB and the buyer of the shares will have to pay the loan balance. "But given the relatively high return of the airport business, the buyer will be able to gain profit in a couple of years," sums up Panteleev.

 Text and pictures by GAZETA.RU