German construction company Hochtief has put the auction of its airports business on hold after failing to sell the unit in 2011.
"The market environment is more difficult than expected," a company spokesman said. "It remains a strategic goal to sell Hochtief Airports."
The company started the sales process in May 2011, expecting to fetch around EUR€1.5 billion (USD$1.9 billion) for stakes in airports in Athens, Budapest, Sydney, Tirana and the German cities of Dusseldorf and Hamburg.
"The sales process is currently dead in the water," a person representing one of the buyers said on condition of anonymity.
French construction group Vinci, China's HNA Group, parent of Hainan Airlines and a consortium of airport operator Fraport and Deutsche Bank fund RREEF had been among the bidders.
After Spanish construction firm ACS bought a majority stake in Hochtief, the board member of the airports business, Martin Rohr, left the business.
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