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Putin seizes rights to St Petersburg Airport from foreign investors

Tan KW
Publish date: Fri, 01 Dec 2023, 10:41 PM
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President Vladimir Putin has ordered the transfer of all the rights to managing St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport from foreign shareholders that include Germany’s Fraport AG and the Qatari wealth fund by shifting their stakes into a new Russian entity.

Under a decree published late on Thursday, stakes in the Cyprus-registered concession that runs the airport of the second-largest Russian city will be consolidated in a new domestic company. Existing investors, which also include a consortium with Abu Dhabi sovereign fund Mubadala Investment Co, will retain their stakes but won’t be able to vote.

The decision was made because of the “threat to the national interests and economic security of the Russian Federation resulting from the violation of obligations by certain foreign legal entities,” the order said. Putin also told the government to create a new management body for the operator of Pulkovo.

Russia has been wresting control over local operations of several international holdings from states it deems unfriendly, in retaliation for measures taken abroad to punish the Kremlin for the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It seized control of the Russian plants owned by Danone SA and Carlsberg A/S in July and installed Putin’s allies to run them.

The measures taken in Pulkovo appeared different by extending to the sovereign funds of governments that have taken a more neutral stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine. The decree also raised the possibility that stakeholders’ voting rights can be restored “upon their application, subject to the conclusion of corporate agreements with other participants in the company and upon the assumption of obligations to comply with Russian legislation.”

German airport operator Fraport, the Qatar Investment Authority, and Russia’s VTB Bank each held about 25% of Pulkovo’s concession. The remainder was controlled by a consortium of investors including Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, RDIF, Mubadala and Baring Vostok, according to Interfax.

 


  - Bloomberg

 

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