Aer Rianta International in talks to sell Moscow duty-free stake
State-owned company discussing sale of stake with Russian partner
St Petersburg duty-free. State-owned Aer Rianta International generated profits of just over €27 million last year.
The Irish company, a subsidiary of Dublin Airport Authority, owns 33.3 per cent of Aerofirst, which operates duty-paid and duty-free shops in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. A spokesman said yesterday it is in “ongoing discussions” about a possible sale of its shareholding in the Russian business.
The potential buyer is its partner, Arial, which recently bought the other 66.7 per cent of Aerofirst from airline Aeroflot. On the basis of that deal, local media reports this week speculated that Aer Rianta International’s stake could be worth up to €15 million.
They estimate that in January, Arial paid 1.23 billion Russian roubles (€30 million) for its stake, which implies a €15 million price tag for the shareholding owned by ARI.
A sale would leave Arial the sole owner of the Moscow airport retailing operation, which had sales of $140.5 million (€105 million) in 2011.
It already owns Runway Duty Free, which has an outlet at Sheremetyevo, and at Moscow’s other airport, Domodedovo, as well as Sochi airport on the Black Sea coast and Novosibirsk airport in Siberia.
Meanwhile, GMR Airports, part of Indian infrastructure and utilities group, GMR, has bought Indian Duty Free Services’s (IDFS) 17 per cent stake in a joint venture in Delhi airport in which ARI is the other shareholder. GMR owns 49.9 per cent of Delhi Duty Free Services, while the Irish company owns 33.07 per cent.
The deal will not affect ARI’s role as lead operator in the Delhi business. After the sale it said it looked forward to a “continued strong working relationship” with GMR.
DAA highlighted the performance of Delhi Duty Free Services when it published its annual report six weeks ago. The company said sales there passed $100 million for the first time in 2012.
ARI generated profits of just over €27 million last year. Its parent said that it had good sales growth in the Middle East and India. It also opened its first Chinese stores last year. It was subsequently named as the preferred bidder to operate the duty-free business in Mumbai airport’s new Terminal 2.ARI also has operations in Bahrain, Canada, China, Kiev and Kosovo.