Tuesday 18th Apr 2017
Faisal Al-Sugair presents privatisation plan for Saudi airports
The Saudi Royal family are planning to transfer airports to their sovereign wealth fund by mid-2018, as part of a nationwide privatisation and economic restructuring.
The nations airports will be made into companies and transferred to the Public Investment Fund, to help improve accountability, Faisal Al Sugair, chairman of Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Co., said in a phone interview. The transfer will also boost oversight as the General Authority of Civil Authority will no longer be both an operator and regulator, he said.
The Royal family are aiming to gain investment in airports and revitalise the nations flagging aviation industry – providing a jumping off point for competing with the other big players in GCC’s aviation market – namely Dubai and Qatar.
The Public Investment Fund will take over Saudi Civil Aviation Holding, which plans to act as an umbrella company for the airport operators, Al-Sugair said.
Stakes in the Airports will go up for sale once the new companies are stable, probably several months after the transfer. Several options are currently being considered, including an IPO and private stake sales – the privatisation route could be tailored for different airports – Al-Sugair is seeking out a variety of specific routes that will best suit the circumstances and valuation of individual airports – with both PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young advising on the sale process.