At the front of the queue

In mid-November, the Puerto Rico Autoridad para las Alianzas Público-Privadas, or the Public-Private Partnerships Authority, issued requests for proposals for the lease of the US territory’s busiest highway, the PR 22, and a less heavily travelled highway known as the PR 5. The two highways were bundled together in the same project.

At the time of going to press, reports were circulating that bidders were about to submit proposals, drawing to a close negotiations for the first toll road concession that the Authority has procured. The Financial Times reported that consortia led by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners could offer up to $1 billion for the project, and that two of the shortlisted bidders – Brazilian toll road operator Companhia de Concessoes Rodoviárias and infrastructure fund Citi Infrastructure Investors – had dropped out of the running.

The Public-Private Partnerships Authority did not return requests for comment at press time, but the Authority’s website lists only two bidders for the toll road concession, despite having shortlisted four consortia last year. 

The two bidders listed are the consortium comprised of Brazilian developer OHL Concesiones and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, a $4 billion fund that closed in 2008; and a consortium comprised of Spanish developer Abertis Infraestructuras and Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners II, the firm’s $3.1 billion fund formed in 2010.

The Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority originally received interest from eight respondents, including JP Morgan Infrastructure Investments and Colombian infrastructure developer Grupo ODINSA, before whittling down the list to four consortia.

The PR 22 and PR 5 concession is part of a larger package of potential privatisations in the territory, after a bill enabling such partnerships was signed into law in 2009. In an industry forum later that year, David Alvarez, the director of the Public-Private Partnerships Authority, laid out a blueprint for $6.2 billion worth of public-private partnerships over eight years. The partnerships could include energy, school, and water projects on the island, as well as the privatisation of the Luis Muños Marín airport, according to the Authority’s website.

Macquarie Capital is acting as financial advisor to the government, with Allen & Overy acting as legal counsel.