NICOSIA, May 30 (Reuters) - Cyprus’s Ermes Department Stores has agreed to dispose of its 50 percent stake in a consortuim running airport retail outlets to Aer Rianta International (ARI) for 55.7 million euros ($75.8 million), it said on Friday.
Ermes has had to contend with three years of economic recession in Cyprus and the deal with ARI will allow it to focus on its main business of operating Debenhams department stores on the Mediterranean island, along with other retail outlets including Next.
The company said its participation in the airports business had “matured”, suggesting that it sees no further room for growth, and that it intends to use proceeds from the sale to invest in new business opportunities. It gave no indication on the type of investments envisaged.
Ermes said the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, would have a significant positive impact on group profitability for 2014 and, by extension, for its holding company the Cyprus Trading Corporation.
Aer Rianta, a subsidiary of the Dublin Airport Authority, and Ermes had an equal shareholding in the CTC-ARI (Holdings) consortium administering retail space at Cyrpus’s Larnaca and Paphos airports in a concession that ends in 2031. ($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
Writing By Michele Kambas; Editing by David Goodman