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Argentine billionaire wants Greek airports

Argentine billionaire Eduardo Eurnekian’s Corporación América holding company is bidding for all of Greece's airports as the group looks to expand in Southern Europe and take advantage of discount prices after the crisis.

Corp. America’s airport operating unit is bidding for 21 Greek airports, Martin Eurnekian, head of the division and a nephew of Eduardo, said in an interview in Davos on Jan. 22. The group, which is acquiring a 23 percent stake in Pisa, Italy’s airport this week, is also trying to complete a plan to integrate Tuscany’s airports by adding Florence, he said.

“We’re going to be very aggressive on all fronts,” said Eurnekian, 35, to Bloomberg. “A lot of opportunities have opened up after the crisis.”

Who is Eduardo Eurnekian

Eduardo Eurnekian was born to Armenian immigrant parents on 4 December 1932. His family established a textile manufacturer which prospered and became an important supplier to international sportswear firm Puma. The firm, like many Argentine textile makers, nearly collapsed after free trade and deregulatory policies led to a severe crisis, in 1981.

The Eurnekian family reportedly borrowed heavily from the former Argentine small business lender, BANADE, and in 1988, Eduardo Eurnekian purchased "Cablevisión S.A," then a failing local cable television station. His investment became increasingly lucrative during the 1990s when Argentina experienced financial and price stability during the 1990s. Then, in 1994, Eurnekian sold a 51% stake in Cablevision S.A. (by then Argentina's second-largest cable operator) for US$350 million and in 1997, netted US$320 million by selling most of his remaining shares.

Eurnekian also held controlling interest in "América TV", four radio stations and a Buenos Aires financial daily, El Cronista. In 1998, a consortium led by Eurnekian, called “Aeropuertos Argentina 2000,” won a 30-year concession to run 33 of Argentina's main airports. He also bought the Howard Johnson's master franchise in Argentina, and invested in the regional airline company LAPA.