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Budapest Airport contract signed

Privatization agency ÁPV signed the contract for the sale of a 75% minus one vote stake in airport operator Budapest Airport yesterday, ÁPV chairman Tamás Mészáros said. Along with the stake, the buyer, British-based BAA International, received a 75-year license to operate the facility. BAA put in the highest bid of Ft 464.54 billion and will transfer the money by Friday. The deal is Hungary's biggest single privatization and BAA's largest acquisition and the company said there were good prospects for the airport to become Central Europe's main hub. The Hungarian state has an option, worth Ft 20 billion, to sell its remaining shares to BAA. This will rise 11.5% every year until 2011, said Mészáros. Meanwhile, the Budapest Airport management is still engaged in negotiations with strike committees of two trade unions who are threatening to strike if their demands for a substantial pay-rise are not met, Budapest Airport spokeswoman Ibolya Forika said.