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Mexican group acquires two Colombian airport operators

In its first deals in South America, Aeroportuario del Sureste has acquired a controlling interest in Airplan and Oriente, which each hold concessions for six Colombian airports for $262m.

The Mexican airport group Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) has acquired a majority stake in two of Colombia’s largest airport operators, paying a total of $262 million for concessions on 12 airports.

ASUR will now own a 92.42 percent interest in Airplan and a 97.26 percent stake in Aeropuertos de Oriente, each of which hold concessions to operate six Colombian airports. ASUR said it expects to fund the purchase with a combination of cash on hand and financing.

Airplan operates two airports in Medellin – including the second busiest in the country, José María Córdova – along with airports in Montería, Carepa, Quibdó and Corozal, serving around 10.4 million passengers last year. Oriente holds concessions for airports in Santa Marta, Riohacha, Valledupar, Cúcuta, Bucaramanga and Barrancabermeja and served 5.2 million passengers in 2016.

The terms of the concessions will depend on the revenues generated by the airports, ASUR said. Airplan’s concessions will expire between 2032 and 2048, while Oriente’s will run out between 2033 and 2049. The deal is subject to approval by Colombian authorities.

The acquisition marks ASUR’s entrance into South America. The company’s only previous experience outside Mexico was a joint venture with Highstar Capital to run the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, the largest in Puerto Rico. ASUR operates nine airports in Mexico, with most of its passenger traffic coming from the Cancun International Airport.