Russia's largest airport, Moscow's Domodedovo, has chosen Goldman Sachs investment bank as an adviser for the airport's possible sale, a banking source told Prime news agency on Tuesday.
"The company has held talks with several investment banks but decided to choose Goldman Sachs because the bank was appointed as a lead manager for the airport's IPO," the source said.
Goldman Sachs refused to comment on the information.
Domodedovo decided in late May 2011 to postpone its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange due to the unfavorable market. The company did not specify the size of the offering while banking sources said the airport could sell up to 20 percent of its stock to raise over $1 billion. In addition to Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup were appointed as the IPO's lead managers.
During the IPO's pre-marketing campaign, Goldman Sachs valuated the airport at $3.5-7.5 billion, Citigroup at $4.2-5.3 billion and J.P. Morgan at $4.3-4.4 billion.
Domodedovo is considered as one of Russia's most closed companies. By the time of the airport's preparations for the IPO, Chairman of its Board of Directors Dmitry Kamenshchik was the beneficiary owner of 100 percent of DME Limited, the airport's holding company. He refused, however, to disclose the structure of the Domodedovo airport shareholders out of fears of a forcible takeover.
Russian prosecutors became interested in the airport's owners after the airport's work was disorganized and hundreds of flights were delayed in December last year due to freezing rain and problems with electricity supply and in the wake of a deadly suicide bomber attack on the arrivals area in the airport this January, which left 37 people dead and nearly 200 injured.
A source close to Domodedovo told Kommersant in spring that the airport's beneficiaries likely intended to sell the shares to foreign investors to protect their business from possible nationalization, which has been discussed as part of the government's plan to unify the three Moscow airports, Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo in one air hub and gain control over it.