MAHB divests Hyderabad Airport stake; may invite PPP deals in its less competitive airports at home

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The publicly floated Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) has historically been the driver of the airport sector in the country, operating close to 40 airports. It has also made selective investments abroad.

Those foreign ventures have been minimalised latterly, and with the announcement that the sale of a minority holding in India’s Hyderabad Airport has been completed after four years of negotiation, only one foreign airport remains in the portfolio.

MAHB will invest its handsome profit on the Hyderabad deal in Malaysian airports. At the same time, the government wants to introduce an airport development fund paid for out of passenger service charges, and to attract private investors to underperforming airports partly on the strength of that fund (i.e. risk would be shared).

But while the level of investment in the sector may be about to rise again, at last Malaysia may well not be top of the investors’ list – because it hasn’t been in the past, and because there may not be the bundling of successful and unsuccessful airports that investors might consider a reasonable gamble.

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