Macquarie, Goldman respond to Puerto Rico airport RFQ

Puerto Rico received 12 responses from infrastructure funds, US private equity firms, Canadian pensions, and developers based in Spain and India to a request for qualifications for an up to 50-year concession of its principal airport, located near the capital, San Juan.

The Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority (PPPA) has received 12 responses to a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a 40- to 50-year concession of the US island territory’s principal airport.

The potential concession of Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, located near Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan, has drawn interest from US private equity firms, Canadian pensions, developers based in Spain and India and infrastructure funds including Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners, which together with Abertis recently won a 40-year concession of the island’s busiest highway.

David Alvarez, executive director of the PPPA, previously said that the concession of Luis Muñoz Marín airport would require the private developer to make both an initial upfront payment to fund capital expenditures at the airport and to make recurring investments for future infrastructure upgrades.

In a statement, the PPPA said the following groups had responded to the RFQ: 

– A group comprised of Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners and German airports operator Fraport;

– Grupo Aeropuertos Avance, a consortium comprised of Macquarie Capital Group and Ferrovial Aeropuertos, the airports subsidiary of Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial;

– The Puerto Rico Gateway Group, comprised of GE Capital Aviation, Allegheny County Airport Authority, US retirement fund manager TIAA-CREF, OPTrust, which manages the pension fund for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, and airport retail developer Airmall USA;

– Bangalore-based firm GMR Infrastructure and Incheon International Airport Corporation;

– AENA Internacional, which is part of Spanish state-backed airports operator Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (AENA);

– Turkish airports operator TAV Airports, which has just been named preferred bidder for a $1.5 billion contract to double passenger capacity at Saudi Arabia's Medina International Airport;

– Corporación América;

– AGUNSA, which operates ports and airports concession in Chile;

– A group comprised of Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board, Zürich airport operator Flughafen Zürich, Camargo Corrêa Investimento em Infra-Estructura, and Gestión e Ingeniería;

– Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste and New York-based infrastructure investor Highstar Capital;

– Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte;

– Boston-based private equity firm Advent International;

Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport holds one slot in the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Pilot Privatisation Programme, which allows up to five US airports to pursue privatisation. The airport is currently owned by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, and the government plans to retain ownership through the term of the concession, according to the RFQ.

Alvarez said in a statement that the PPPA hopes to achieve a “historical transaction for the Government, the private sector, and the US market” through the airport concession.

The PPPA together with the Ports Authority will begin analysing the responses to the RFQ, and expects to shortlist proponents and to issue a request for proposals by the end of August or early September, according to the PPPA statement.