Portugal in $3.9bn deal to sell airport operator
London, December 28, 2012
Portugal is set to beat its privatisation revenue goal by selling airport operator ANA to French construction firm Vinci in a deal worth about three billion euros ($3.97 billion), sources said.
Vinci was chosen because of the high value of its bid compared with other final contenders Fraport of Germany, Zurich airport operator Flughafen and Argentinian infrastructure group Corporacion America.
Lisbon is under pressure to get the most it can from state-owned asset sales after it agreed to raise 5.5 billion euros by the end of 2013 as part of a 78 billion euro bailout agreement with the troika of EU-IMF lenders, which also included across-the-board tax rises and spending cuts.
"The Vinci offer is so high that it was placed at the top of the list for the cabinet to evaluate. The preliminary evaluation was to recommend Vinci also for its overall parameters. But the decision is with the cabinet," a source said.
Lisbon has been betting on infrastructure deals to cut its debt as demand for regulated assets in Europe remains strong despite the region's debt crisis.
It has so far sold stakes in power companies EDP and REN, mainly to Chinese investors.
Vinci has made no secret of its eagerness to build its fledgling airport concessions business.
The company is trying to rebound from the loss earlier this year of a bidding contest for Turkish airports operator TAV and a decision by Germany's Hochtief to suspend a planned sale of its airports.
ANA posted record profit last year of 76.5 million euros and revenue of 425 million euros, despite the country's economic crisis, as the number of foreign visitors rose.-Reuters