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Freed From Hahn's Financial Obligations

Fraport transfers its shares to the State of Rhineland-Palatinate

eTN Staff Writer  Feb 05, 2009

FRANKFURT, Germany - With retroactive effect to January 1, 2009, the State of Rhineland-Palatinate is taking over all of Fraport AG's shares in Flughafen Frankfurt Hahn GmbH (FFHG). With 65 percent, Fraport was the majority shareholder in Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in the HunsrĂźck region until the end of last year; the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse each held 17.5 percent of the shares.

Both sides agreed today on a symbolic purchase price of EUR1. This transaction ends all existing financial obligations of Fraport AG, in particular the obligation of offsetting losses and obligations under existing loan agreements of FFHG. Dr. Stefan Schulte, vice chairman of Fraport AG and supervisory board chairman of FFHG, emphasized: "As a stock-listed group, decisive criteria for Fraport is the earning power of its subsidiaries and associated companies. We cannot afford loss-making operations permanently. Without implementation of our concept presented for Hahn's future, we are unable to continue operations at this location. Another decisive reason for our pull-out was that we would immediately cease having to bear any further losses; in view of our contract commitments until the year 2024, these would have been a great burden for us."

In order to improve the airport's negative results, Fraport had presented a concept for the future in the past few months. This included introduction of the so-called "Hahn Taler," an airport development fee to be paid by the passenger to contribute to the further development of Hahn Airport in the future. Schulte said that the implementation of the concept was an essential prerequisite for FFHG to make Hahn profitable.

Hahn's main customer, the Irish carrier Ryanair, had announced that if the airport development fee was introduced it would withdraw a considerable part of its fleet from Hahn Airport already by the summer timetable and even leave the airport completely later. Rhineland-Palatinate transportation minister Hendrik Hering commented: "The reaction signalized by Ryanair would have had disastrous consequences for the region's labor market. This would have jeopardized about 6,000 jobs immediately. We couldn't allow this to happen and, therefore, decided to take over Fraport AG's shares in FFHG. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport has enormous development and performance potential. We will use this potential to make the airport profitable."

The State of Rhineland-Palatinate will be responsible for managing the airport in the HunsrĂźck region in the future. However, both partners will continue to rely on cooperation. They underscore that the close cooperation between Frankfurt and Frankfurt-Hahn airports will remain unchanged. Changes in the circle of shareholders will not have any negative impact on Hahn's customers and passengers.

Both Dr. Schulte and Hering emphasized that Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is an important conversion project. During the past eight years, passenger figures at the HunsrĂźck airport rose from 400,000 to recently nearly 4 million per year. In terms of cargo traffic, the airport is now one of the most important hubs in Germany. Overall, between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs have been created in this structurally weak region over the years.

Hering thanked Fraport for its extraordinary commitment at Hahn Airport during the past decade. "Without Fraport, the airport would not have developed into what it is today."

Fraport transfers its shares to the State of Rhineland-Palatinate
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