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Airport privatization to be re-launched next week

The stalled privatization of Budapest Airport could be re-launched next Thursday and completed by the end of the year, the state holding and privatisation company ÁPV Rt told business daily Napi Gazdaság on Wednesday. But the question remains whether the airport company will be able to fetch as much as Ft 400 bln, or €1.6 bln, the highest bid before the tender was declared invalid by the Hungarian courts. The terms of the tender and the final contract will be ready for publication soon after October 18, said ÁPV's spokesman. The bidders in the stalled bid expect that they will still be considered in the second round and ÁPV plans to invite the five best bidders to negotiations, said the paper. These were Germany's Hochtief, Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport, Britain's BAA, Denmark's Copenhagen Airports and Australia's Macquarie Airports Holdings. One issue in the new round is speculation over how far the bids will be raised now that companies are aware of each other's offers. The first round was declared invalid by primary and appeal courts because the company failed to consult workers properly.