Russia’s government has ordered a restructuring of the Cypriot-based management company overseeing St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, to bring it under a domestic holding.

The changes are detailed in a Russian presidential decree, issued on 30 November, which states that “special economic measures” are being applied to the field of air transport to “protect national interests”, in the wake of international sanctions imposed over the Ukrainian conflict.

It alleges that a “threat” to economic security has arisen from “violation” by foreign entities of obligations relating to the management of Northern Capital Gateway”, the operator of Pulkovo airport. The decree does not elaborated on the claim.

Northern Capital Gateway is owned by the Cypriot company Thalita Trading which, in turn, is 25%-owned by German airport operator Fraport, and 24.99%-owned by Qatari investment company F3 Holding.

St Petersburg Pulkovo airport-c-Pulkovo airport

Source: Pulkovo airport

German and Qatari investors hold almost 50% of St Petersburg Pulkovo airport

Several other investors share the balance, including Business Finance with nearly 16.8% and VTB Infrastructure with 8.2%.

The decree establishes a new entity, VVSS Holding, with an authorised capital of Rb169 billion ($1.87 billion).

VVSS Holding will take over the entire share capital of Northern Capital Gateway from Thalita Trading, the decree says.

It adds that the government will appoint an executive body for the company and approve its charter.

This charger will include “temporary” transfer of voting rights from Thalita’s shareholders, which will be allocated to two different entities. One of these entities will hold the rights of both Fraport and F3 Holding. The decree indicates that rights can be restored if agreements on exercising them, in compliance with Russian legislation on competition and national interests, are reached.

Fraport suspended its business activity with respect to its share in Pulkovo airport as a result of the Ukrainian conflict, and last year wrote off completely a €163 million loan made to Thalita Trading.