Flughafen Wien Shares Take Off as Investor Crosses Takeover Threshold — Update

By Joshua Kirby

Shares in airport operator Flughafen Wien AG rose sharply Monday after an investment fund crossed a share-ownership threshold that triggers a mandatory takeover offer, though the fund said it isn’t seeking majority control of the company.

At 1148 GMT, shares traded 24% higher at EUR32.60.

The operator of Vienna International Airport said it had been informed Monday that investment fund IFM Global Infrastructure Fund, or IFM GIF, had increased its stake in the company to 40%, obliging the fund to launch a takeover offer for all remaining shares.

IFM Investors said earlier that its fund IFM GIF now holds more than 40% of Flughafen Wien via a Luxembourg-based indirect subsidiary, Airport Groups Europe, following on-market share purchases. Airports Group Europe previously held just under 40% of Flughafen Wien’s share capital, according to the latter company’s website.

Having crossed the threshold, the investor is obliged to launch an offer for all remaining shares in the company, in accordance with the Austrian Takeover Act, IFM said. The mandatory offer is set at a price of 33 euros ($34.71) a share, a premium of 25.5% over Friday’s closing price, the fund said.

However, IFM is neither aiming nor expecting to gain control of the company, it said.

“Based on our understanding of the respective long-term investment horizons, we do not expect the City of Vienna, [the state of] Lower Austria or the employee trust to sell their share,” said IFM Investors’ executive director for infrastructure, Werner Kerschl, referring to investors holding a collective 50% of the company’s shares

Write to Joshua Kirby at; @joshualeokirby

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