Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley compete for Puerto Rico toll road

Only two of four consortia shortlisted for the highway deal ultimately submitted proposals. Puerto Rico authorities expect to decide on a winning bidder by the end of the month.

Consortia led by Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure have submitted bids for the concession of Puerto Rico’s busiest highway, according to a statement from the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA).

The project involves the renovation and operation of two toll roads: the PR-22 highway, the most heavily traveled road in the US territory, and a smaller highway known as the PR-5.

Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, a $4 billion fund that closed in 2008, partnered with Spanish concessions firm OHL Concesiones in its bid for the project. Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners II, a $3.1 billion fund that was formed in 2010, partnered with Spanish developer Abertis Infraestructuras.

The PPPA, together with the Highways and Transportation Authority,  the partnership committee appointed for the project, and the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, will now undertake an analysis of the two bids and submit recommendations to Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño. The PPPA said it expected a final decision within a few weeks.

The PPPA declined to provide any further information on the bids while they are being evaluated.  Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Eight consortia originally responded to a request for qualifications for the project, and Puerto Rico shortlisted four of those groups.  Two of the shortlisted consortia—Citi Infrastructure Investors and Brazilian toll road operator Companhia de Concessoes Rodoviárias–had recently been rumored to have dropped out of the running, and ultimately did not submit proposals.

The concession is part of a large-scale public-private partnership programme that Puerto Rico has begun implementing in recent years, following the enactment of a 2009 law permitting such partnerships. Other projects under consideration include the privatisation of Luis Muñoz Marín airport as well as potential social infrastructure and natural gas distribution projects, according to the PPPA website.