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Aéroports de Paris tumbles as Schiphol operator dumps remaining stake

Published 12/06/2022, 03:44 AM
Updated 12/06/2022, 04:13 AM
© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- Aéroports de Paris (EPA:ADP) stock slumped in morning trading in Europe on Tuesday after Dutch airport operator Royal Schiphol Group dumped its remaining stock in the group at a steep discount to market prices.

Royal Schiphol, which operates Amsterdam airport, said in a statement it had sold some 3.87 million shares, equivalent to a stake of 3.9% in the French group, at only €133 per share, nearly 10% below AdP's closing price on Monday of €147.65.

It added that AdP had repurchased shares worth some €40M as part of the deal, which was carried out through an accelerated book-building process.

Shares in the French airport group, which is still majority controlled by the state, fell 12% to their lowest in seven weeks. They were the worst performer in the midcap SBF-120 index.

Royal Schiphol had been trying to unload its stake for some months but had only found buyers for smaller packages to start with. Last month, it sold a 2.5% block to Credit Agricole (EPA:CAGR) and a 1.6% block to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

AdP has been one of the best-performing stocks in the European travel sector this year. After two years, in which the pandemic devastated air travel, passenger numbers at the group's airports are up 83% from a year earlier.

ADP stock is up 15% for the year, even though it is still down 27% from three years ago, just before COVID-19 started to sweep through the world. In October, the most recent month for which data are available, AdP's passenger numbers were still 10% below pre-pandemic levels.

Royal Schiphol's apparent difficulty in getting rid of the stock suggests that some investors are fearing that the recovery in European air travel has largely run its course and will flatten out next year as inflation eats into households' ability to spend on vacationing.

ADP said last month it expects traffic numbers at its Paris airports to stay below 2019 levels next year.

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