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Hochtief, partners win EU approval to acquire Budapest Airport

Hochtief AG, Germany's biggest construction company, and partners won European antitrust approval to buy Budapest airport.

The European Commission, the 25-nation European Union's antitrust regulator in Brussels, announced the approval in a statement today. Financial terms for the purchase weren't disclosed. Hochtief agreed to buy Budapest airport from BAA Plc less than a year after losing out in a bidding contest for Hungary's largest airport. The builder founded its airport division in 1997 in part to take advantage of rising passenger growth and pension funds' appetites for the steady returns airfields can generate.

The German builder will own 50% of the airport, while its partners Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Canada's largest pension-fund manager, and KfW, Germany's state-owned development bank, will own the rest of the stake. The Hungarian government still owns the remaining 25%. BAA, acquired in June by Grupo Ferrovial SA, bought a 75% stake in the airport from Hungary last December for £1.26 billion ($2.5 billion). (Bloomberg)