SEA has begun marketing an initial public offering valuing the owner of Milan Malpensa, Italy’s biggest cargo airport, up to 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion).
The IPO, slated for early December, will list a quarter of SEA on the Milan stock exchange, with around half coming from new issued shares and the remainder from the regional authority, which is disposing of its shareholding.
Milan Malpensa’s passenger business has suffered from Italian flag carrier Alitalia’s decision to make Rome its sole hub in 2008, with traffic down 20 percent from five years ago. But the airport’s cargo unit has benefited from its location at the heart of Italy’s export-driven industrial belt.
Malpensa accounts for over half of the air freight traffic in Italy, Europe’s second largest cargo market after Germany.
Traffic grew 4 percent in 2011 from the previous year to 440,258 metric tons, but declined 9 percent in the first seven months of 2012 to 241,146 tons, according to the latest figures.
SEA also owns Milan Linate airport on the outskirts of the city, which handled 15,900 tons of freight in 2011. It has a 31 percent stake in Bergamo airport, 40 miles east of Milan, a fast-growing hub for express carriers and budget passenger airlines.
SEA is boosting Malpensa’s annual capacity to 1 million tons to attract emerging Asian and Middle Eastern cargo airlines.
SEA earned $191 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization on revenue of $818 million in 2011. It made a net profit of $68.5 million, an increase of 14.6 percent on the previous year.