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Germany to Sell Stakes in Frankfurt, Cologne and Munich Airports

Germany's federal government will seek buyers for its stakes in some of Germany's biggest airports this year to ease his budget deficit, Deputy Finance Minister Karl Diller told Bloomberg News on Thursday. Berlin needs to plug a €2.75 billion ($3.35 billion) gap in its budget after Germany's states agreed to speed up income-tax cuts in December but left the federal government with the bill, Diller said. "We plan asset sales this year of a substantial order," he said. "We'll try to sell at an interesting moment, not necessarily at the end of the year." Frankfurt airport operator Fraport AG and Cologne-Bonn and Munich airports are co-owned by the states of Hesse, North-Rhine Westphalia and Bavaria. Diller said the states had dropped their opposition to selling federal stakes in the assets. Berlin is under pressure to get its budget deficit under the EU's three percent of gross domestic product limit, which it is likely to breach for the third consecutive year in 2004.