BER at risk from using Swaps?
Reports about BER Airport currently circulating in various media claim that the Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH could be vulnerable to financial risks as a consequence of interest rate hedging transactions, the so-called swaps.
The Flughafengesellschaft now says it took steps to protect itself from rising interest rates as early as 2006 by concluding an interest rate hedging agreement, so-called swaps. This hedging transaction was a mandatory prerequisite for the conclusion of the long-term financing in 2009.
The swaps converted the variable interest rate in the long-term loan into a fixed interest rate of about four per cent. As disclosed in the Annual Report 2011, the swaps had a negative market value of €214.5 million.
However, the Flughafengesellschaft has not suffered any real losses from the swaps. Since the Flughafengesellschaft fully intends to repay the loans and the related interest rate hedging transactions by the end of the term, real losses cannot result. In 2011, the Flughafengesellschaft adjusted the collateral for the swaps for the purpose of reducing financing expenses. The obligation to provide collateral for the swaps is no longer in effect as of 2012. Consequently, negative market values no longer impact the Flughafengesellschaft’s balance sheet.
The Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH is currently carrying out a comprehensive audit of the costs for the entire scope of the BER airport project. The performance of this audit will take up several weeks. The results are expected by the time of the Supervisory Board meeting on 22/06/2012. We ask you to understand that we cannot make any statements regarding speculations, specific papers or assessments regarding this subject until the audit process has been concluded.