GLOBAL - Major Canadian and Asian pension schemes could be among the bidders for a stake in Genoa airport after the Port Authority of Genoa announced that it would sell its 60% shareholding.

The starting price for the auction-style bidding for the authority's shares is understood to be €30m.

Likely bidders will be required to have assets under management amounting to at least €15m and a €500,000 bank guarantee in place. Preferred candidates will be announced in August.

The Genovese port committee earlier this year agreed to the sale of the Port Authority's shareholding after repeated ministerial nagging that the airport fell outside of the authority's port remit.

The February decision came with the proviso that the two other shareholders - the Chamber of Commerce of Genoa, which owns 25%, and the airport operator, which owns 15% - would have pre-emptive rights over the shares.

Large US, Canadian and Asian pension schemes and sovereign wealth funds have to date been the primary investors in European airports.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the National Pension Service (NPS) of South Korea both acquired stakes in Gatwick Airport last year, after competing against groups involving the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) and Borealis, the infrastructure branch of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS).

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan owns 48% of Birmingham International Airport.

European pension schemes have tended to opt for industrial and office assets on the periphery. The BT pension scheme and the Finnish state pension scheme are among those that have targeted airport-related commercial property.

The Port Authority did not respond before deadline to requests for comment.