Year In Review

Latin America & Caribbean: Year in Review • 2017

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil – Jan 01/17 – Rio’s Airport Concessionaire Granted a Reprieve

Riogaleão, the concessionaire for Rio’s Janeiro-Galeão International Airport, has been granted permission from the Brazilian government to remit overdue operating charges of nearly US$300m in monthly installments while Congress deliberates over legislation to provide relief for struggling infrastructure concessions impacted by the county’s prolonged economic downturn.

Peru – Jan 31/17 – Peru Reaffirms Commitment to Cusco Project 

Peru’s President Kuczynski recently reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the Cusco – Machu Picchu greenfield airport project, saving the country US$590m in government funding. Key contract addendums to the PPP deal are now signed, paving the way for the project to advance despite Congressional claims that the project is detrimental to the Peruvian State.

Bermuda – Feb 01/07 – BDA Deal to be Scrutinized by “Blue Ribbon Panel”

The Bermuda government has appointed a “Blue Ribbon Panel” to review the highly contested L.F. Wade airport privatization deal with the Canadian Commercial Corporation and Canadian contractors Aecon. The panel will review the Project Agreement and associated documents and opine on whether it is a “reasonable and fair” deal for the island nation.

Bahamas – Feb 07/17 – Nassau to Mark 10-year Anniversary with Vantage

Later this spring the Lynden Pindling Int’l Airport (LPIA) will celebrate its 10th year under private management with Vancouver Airport Services (now dba Vantage Airport Group). Vantage undertook commercial operations at LPIA on Apr. 1, 2007 through the Nassau Airport Development Co., including terminal, airfield facilities and parking, along with US$409m in capital works.

Jamaica – Feb 24/17 – Kingston Airport Repackaged & Re-tendered

The Jamaican government is set on putting the development and operation of Norman Manley Int’l Airport into private hands by the end of FY2017/18. The “enterprise team” assigned with the task of attracting a private operator/investor under a PPP framework recently launched a new bidding process. Expressly prohibited from completing in the 2015 tender, which produced no bids, MBJ’s lead investor/operator Pacific Airport Group of Mexico is reported to be considering an offer.

Brazil – Mar 16/17 – European Operators Sweep Brazil’s 3rd Round

Amid prolonged political and economic turmoil, the Brazilian government successfully auctioned off four airports in round three of its concession program. Fraport was successful in its bid for Fortaleza and Porto Alegre airports, Vinci secured the concession to Salvador airport and Zurich picked up the rights for development and operating of Florianopolis.

Brazil – Mar 20/17 – Rio-Galeão Airport Shares Set to Change Hands

Odebrecht S.A. is reported to be close to an agreement with Canada’s PSP Investments to sell its 60% stake in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro–Galeão airport. The proposed sale is aimed at bringing an end to the stalemate with the Brazilian government and national development bank BNDES due to financial distress triggered by the country’s lingering political and economic crisis.

Bermuda – Apr 01/17 – Aecon Reaches Commercial Close for Bermuda

Aecon Concessions recently reached commercial and financial close on the US274m Bermuda Airport Redevelopment Project, following prolonged political wrangling. Under the P3 framework agreement negotiated between the Bermuda government and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, Aecon will develop, finance and operate the airport under a 30-year term.

Puerto Rico – Apr 03/17 – PSP Acquires Oaktree Stake in San Juan Airport

Oaktree Capital has successfully auctioned off its 50% stake in Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín Airport to Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board. Oaktree bought into the venture in 2014 with purchase of Highstar Capital. The other 50% stake in San Juan is held by Mexican airport operator Aeroportuario del Sureste.

Paraguay – May 09/17 – Paraguay on Verge of Tanking Asuncion Bid

Paraguay’s comptroller has been requested by the Ministry of Public Works to review its decision to nullify the PPP tender for redevelopment and expansion of Asuncion – Silvio Pettirossi International Airport due to the absence of a pre-qualification stage in the process. The Sacyr-Agunsa consortium was identified as the preferred bidder for US$149m project.

Jamaica – May 19/17 – Repackaged Kingston Airport Attracts Strong Interest

A total of nine interested groups have submitted credentials for prequalification of the retender for privatization Kingston, Jamaica’s Norman Manley International Airport. The prequalification process closed May 1, with GAP (operators of Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay), Vinci Airports, Cedicor, Acciona Concesiones, GMR and Zurich Airport responding.             

Puerto Rico – Jun 08/17 – ASUR & PSP Acquire Oaktree’s Share in Puerto Rico

Mexican operator ASUR, a JV partner in Aerostar Airport Holdings (Aerostar), operator of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan Puerto Rico, and Canada’s PSP Investments, announced acquisition of Oaktree Capital’s 50% stake in Aerostar. ASUR increased its share from 50% to 60% with PSP acquiring the remaining 40% stake. Total ticket price US$430m.

Chile – Jun 09/17 – Zürich Concession of Iquique Diego Extended

Zürich Airport has been awarded an extension to its concession for operation and expansion of the Iquique Diego Aracena Airport (IQQ) in northern Chile. The revised contract provides an initial 18-year extension from 2018, with the potential for further extension up to 25 years, conditional on traffic volumes. IQQ is the 5th busiest in Chile with 1.2m annual passengers.

Peru – Jun 12/17 – Peru’s Chinchero Airport Greenfield Deal Terminated

Contrary to reports early in the year that President Kuczynski’s new government would uphold the previous government’s deal for private-sector development of the new US$590m Cusco – Machu Picchu greenfield airport, Peru’s Transport Minister has announced that the contract has been terminated by “mutual consent” of the parties, however terms were not disclosed.

Costa Rica – Jun 20/17 – Costa Rica Unveils Ambitious Airport Development Plan

The Costa Rican government recently announced plans for a new USD$3.5b airport development with private sector participation. Located in Orotina, roughly 60km west of San José, the first stage of the project is targeted for completion by 2027 with an initial investment of USD$1.9b. Three additional phases are planned, with final completion by 2047.

Brazil – Jul 01/17 – Brazil Considers Fate of Remaining Infraero Airports

On the heels of successful privatization of four airports in its third round of divestitures, Brazil has announced plans to concession the remaining 54 airports operated by Infraero and shut down the government-owned company. Industry reaction to the news has been mixed, given modest traffic/profitability prospects for most of these second and third tier airports

Paraguay – Jul 20/17 – Asuncion Concession Award Hangs in the Balance

The future of the Asuncion concession award hangs in the balance, as the country’s Ministry of Public Works has filed an appeal to the Comptroller General to reconsider its findings. Earlier in the year, the comptroller raised issue with the tender process due to the absence of a pre-qualification stage and recommended nullifying the tender.

Peru – Aug 05/17 – Lima Airport Partners Come to Terms for Expansion

Lima Airport Partners (LAP) has reached an agreement with the Peruvian government to amend the 2001 Lima Airport concession agreement, to facilitate the next phase of Lima’s airport development. Land issues were hampering expansion plans for the past several years. LAP’s capital program will see US$1.5b investment in new terminal and runway facilities.

Brazil – Aug 09/17 – Viracopos Investors Decide to Throw in the Towel

The Viracopos Airport (VCP) concessionaire has decided to throw in the towel and hand the airport back to the government, citing sluggish traffic growth in the wake of Brazil’s protracted political crisis and economic downturn. ABV S.A., which was awarded the VCP concession in 2012, has invested USD$954m in new terminal development, to date, however traffic is 52% below their bid model forecasts. The airport handled 9.3m passengers in 2016, in stark contrast to ABV’s 17.9m projections.

Brazil – Sep 20/17 – Brazil Ponders Option of IPO for Infraero

In late June Brazil announced plans to concession the remaining 54 Infraero-operated airports and shut down the government-owned company however, as industry reaction to this plan was less than enthusiastic given the modest traffic and profitability prospects of these remaining airports, the government is now said to be considering the option of an IPO for Infraero.

Brazil – Oct 10/17 – Russia’s VTB Eyes Viracopos Concession

Following news back in August that the Viracopos concessionaire decided to relinquish its rights back to government, Russia’s VTB Capital is reported to be pursuing an option to assume the concession. Sluggish traffic growth in the wake of Brazil’s protracted political crisis and economic downturn have been cited the root cause of the hand-back.

Colombia – Oct 20/17 – Mexico’s ASUR Acquires Colombian Airport Assets 

The Mexican airport operator Aeropuertos del Sureste (ASUR) has received authorization from the Colombian authorities to acquire majority interest in operators Airplan and Aeropuertos Oriente. The total ticket price is reported to US$262m.

Mexico – Nov 01/17 – ASUR Sees Strong Passenger Growth Despite Storm 

Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) maintained its growth curve despite hurricane Maria, which severely impacted operations at Luis Munoz Marin Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. ASUR saw a third-quarter rise in passengers, due largely to the strong performance of its Mexican network airports, with Cancun leading the way.

Chile – Nov 06/17 – Chile’s Tepual Airport Forges Ahead with Concession Bid

The concession bidding process for Puerto Montt El Tepual Airport is well underway, with competitive offers due by mid-Jan, and bids opened mid-Feb, 2018. The successful proponent will be responsible for investing in expansion and upgrading of the airport, including investments to increase passenger capacity from 1.5m to 3.0m passengers/year.

Bermuda – Nov 07/17 – Aecon Acquired by China’s CCC Int’l Holding

Canada’s Aecon, prime contractor for the Bermuda airport PPP between the Government of Bermuda and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, will be acquired by Chinese conglomerate CCC International Holding, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co, for USD$1.5b, cash. Aecon say it will be “business as usual” going forward.

Paraguay – Nov 11/17 – Last Ditch Effort Made to Salvage Asunción Concession

The public works ministry of Paraguay has made a last-ditch effort to salvage the US$149m tender process for private investment and operation of Asunción’s Silvio Pettirossi Int’l Airport, petitioning the country’s Comptroller to withdraw its recommendation to terminate the tender. The Comptroller maintains that the omitted prequalification phase was critical to the process, providing unfair advantage Sacyr (Spanish) and Agunsa (Chilean) consortium that immerged as preferred bidder.

Brazil – Nov 14/17 – Voa Consortium Takes Over Five Sao Paulo Airports

The Voa Sao Paulo Consortium has assumed management and operation of five airports in Sao Paulo state, including Campinas Campo dos Amarais, Braganca Paulista, Jundiai and Itanhaem airports. The consortium will invest USD$30m in capital upgrades over the 30-year concession, with USD10.7m in improvements to be made within the first four years of the term.

Argentina – Dec 05/17 – Corporación América Retains Argentine Concessions

Quelling speculation on the future of Corporación América’s airport concessions in Argentina, the country’s Transport Minister made a recent public statement advising that “differences we had were remedied after [Corporación América] agreed to structural changes that coincide with our vision” relating to chairmanship of Aeropuertos Argentina 2000.

Colombia – Dec 15/17 – Airplan Inaugurates Latest Expansion in Medellin 

Airplan, operator of Medellin’s José María Córdova Airport (MDE), recently inaugurated the next phase of terminal capacity expansion. The US$117m project included five new domestic aircraft parking stands and three new positions in the international terminal. In related news, Mexico’s ASUR is in the process of acquiring a majority stake in Airplan and Aeropuertos Oriente for a total ticket price to US$262m.