RIO DE JANEIRO – Three European groups were awarded the rights to operate airports in the Brazilian cities of Salvador, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre and Florianopolis in a public auction Thursday.
Germany’s Fraport AG won the rights to operate the Porto Alegre and Fortaleza airports for 25 years and 30 years, respectively, while France’s Vinci SA will operate the Salvador airport over the next 25 years and Switzerland’s Flughafen Zurich was awarded the concession to run the Florianopolis airport, also for 25 years.
The three groups, the only auction participants, bid a total of 3.7 billion reais (some $1.2 billion), exceeding the required minimum bid total by 23 percent.
In addition to their payments for the concessions, the winners of the auction at the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange pledged to invest 6.61 billion reais to modernize and expand the four airports and committed to pay the government nearly 2.3 billion reais in operating fees.
Flughafen Zurich already had a presence in Brazil as a member of the consortium that operates the Belo Horizonte airport.
With no Brazilian participants and only three total companies submitting proposals, premiums were much lower than in an auction of six airports in 2012 that attracted 11 consortiums.
Thursday’s auction, part of an ambitious privatization program aimed at reducing a large budget deficit and spurring Brazil’s recession-hit economy, was the first involving transportation infrastructure since President Michel Temer took office in August.
The four airports up for bid account for 11.6 percent of passenger traffic and 12.6 percent of cargo traffic in Brazil.