NETHERLANDS – Government is planning to sell close to a third of its stake in Schiphol airport to institutional investors, according to Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm.

The government owns 75.8% of the airport, but is planning to sell off 49.9% to investors under new privatisation plans.

Zalm has indicated he wants to sell some 20% of the 49.9% to institutional investors, including one or two large pension schemes.

He added that schemes would need to maintain their equity holdings in the airport for a period of seven years. Pension funds would also not have a seat on Schiphol’s board of commissioners.

According to Zalm, only a minority of all shares would be offered to private investors. He also reiterated that the government would maintain its position as an active shareholder.

Schiphol board member Pieter Verboom has supported the move, which will see shares in the hands of pension schemes. He added that there have been high levels of investor interest in the airport.

Other major stakeholders in Schiphol include the City of Amsterdam with 21.8% and the City of Rotterdam with 2.4%.

Until now, the City of Amsterdam has refused privatisation. It wants to acquire a majority stake but its offer has been ridiculed by parliament.

The Dutch senate approved the move to privatise government’s stake in Schiphol airport despite the collapse last week of the centre-right government over immigration policy.

Moves towards privatisation are expected very soon, even under a Dutch transitional government.