The French Egis Group is interested in the acquisition of Maastricht Aachen Airport, report Dutch media. The group already runs both Antwerp and Ostend-Bruges airports in neighbouring Belgium.
Having suffered heavy losses over longer periods of time, MAA was taken over by the Dutch province of Limburg last year. After a considerable capital injection and a reorganisation the provincial
government has now launched a tendering procedure in search of a new operator. So far, a shortlist of three possible candidates has emerged from this process. Apart from local building contractor
Volker/Wessels and air cargo company Global Airline Service at Schiphol Airport, there is also Egis.
The deal should be concluded until year’s end
Since October 2014 the group has operated both Antwerp and Ostend. Together with Larnaka and Paphos in Cyprus these are to date the only European airports run by Egis. The Belgian CEO of Egis is Marcel Buelens, himself a veteran in the airline and air cargo industry. His career took him to Danzas, Air Hong Kong (cargo manager in Brussels), Charleroi Airport and Swissport. In a statements given to Dutch paper Nieuwsblad Transport he has emphasized that MAA, with its location on the border with both Belgium and Germany, might fit very well into the Egis portfolio.
Cargo should come first at MAA
A final decision on the sale of MAA is expected to be concluded until the end of this year, allowing a new operator to take the reins as from July 2016. In an outlook delivered last spring, airport manager Sander Heijmans recommended to any new operator to focus on air cargo handling, which today accounts for 80% of MAA’s turnover. According to Heijmans the aim should be to triple the volume from today’s 80,000 tons to 250,000 tons a year.
In fiscal 2014, Egis turned over €854 million, down 3% to 2013. The net profit amounted to €36.9 million. Airport and aviation activities contribute around 5 percent to the group’s total revenues. The firm’s subsidiary Egis Airport Operation is a stakeholder in a number of airport operating companies: it manages 14 airports on 5 continents, handling 22 million passengers and 400,000 tons of freight last year.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels