Heavyweights come out for Madrid, Barcelona airport privatisations

Ferrovial, Allianz, AXA, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Industry Funds Management, Global Infrastructure Partners and Abertis are part of the seven consortia that have lined up to bid for the two airports in a deal that might net the government upwards of €10bn.

Spanish airports authority Aena has received expressions of interest from seven different consortia for the privatisation of 90 percent of Madrid’s Barajas and Barcelona’s El Prat airports, Aena announced yesterday afternoon.

Aena received qualifications from six consortia for each airport, with five of the consortia in the running for the two airports and two consortia bidding for either Barajas or El Prat. The bidders for the two airports include:

Ferrovial Aeropuertos, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Industry Funds Management and Infinity Investments;

GMR Infrastructure;

Changi Airports International, FCC Construccion and Siemens Project Ventures;

Aeroports de Paris, Global Infrastructure Partners and Allianz;

Fraport and Acciona.

A consortium of Grupo San Jose, Cedicor and Advent International has signed up to bid solely for Barajas Airport whilst a team of Abertis Airports, Borealis (the investment arm of Ontario Employees Retirement System) and AXA Private Equity are planning to bid exclusively for El Prat Airport. CVC Capital Partners, which at one point was in talks with Abertis and AXA Private Equity to join the consortium, has apparently dropped out.

Aena will announce next week which consortia will be pre-qualified to submit bids for the airport privatisations. Pre-qualified bidders will then be able to start due diligence on the two airports. The airports authority has stipulated that the two airports cannot go to the same consortium, so bidders interested in both assets will eventually have to signal their preference.

The Spanish government is said to be looking to net an upfront payment of €5.3 billion for the two airports – €3.7 billion for Barajas and €1.6 billion for El Prat. Additionally, the authorities are targeting an annual payment from the private partner equal to 20 percent of each airport’s revenues, or a minimum of €150 million annually for Barajas and €80 million a year for El Prat. 

The concessions for both airports will run over 15 years, extendable for a further five, Aena had previously indicated.

Madrid’s Barajas Airport is Europe’s fourth-largest airport, having carried close to 50 million passengers last year, while Barcelona’s El Prat is the continent’s tenth-biggest, with 29 million passengers transported through its terminals in 2010. Furthermore, both airports grew their passenger numbers last year: Barajas by 3 percent and El Prat by a more robust 6.5 percent.

To read about the privatisations’ potential pitfalls, check out our regional report on Iberia, published in the September 2011 edition of Infrastructure Investor magazine.