picture of Budapest Airport

The financial due diligence of Budapest Airport Zrt. has started, meaning that formal talks can begin on selling the airport to the Hungarian government from majority owner AviAlliance.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been saying for months that he wanted to see the airport in Hungarian hands, but so far the owners had shown no interest in selling it despite a reported offer of 4.44 billion Euros (US $5.05 billion) by the state.

That is, until Monday, when AviAlliance announced that a consortium led by the Hungarian government had made a revised, non-binding offer to purchase the airport.

“The Hungarian government has accepted our terms and conditions for starting formal negotiations. Therefore we have decided to enter into a due diligence process,” AviAlliance said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

However, the German company also cautioned, “While this is potentially the first step towards the sale of the airport, we want to emphasise that the outcome of such a process is not predetermined.”

AviAlliance has a majority 55.44% stake in Budapest Airport, while the Singapore-based Malton owns 23.33% and Canada’s Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec has a 21.23% share.

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By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.