Vinci gets exclusive rights on new Lisbon Airport

The French developer closed the acquisition of Portugal’s 10 airports and announced it has exclusive rights to negotiate the construction and operation of a future Lisbon airport once the current one reaches capacity.  

French infrastructure developer Vinci has closed the acquisition of ANA – Portugal’s airports operator – last Friday, announcing it has exclusive rights “to negotiate the construction and operation of a new airport in Lisbon when capacity of the current airport reaches saturation.”

Vinci announced last December that it had won a 50-year concession to operate Portugal’s 10 airports after it offered 16 times ANA’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), outbidding a consortium of Fraport and Industry Funds Management by €638 million.

Last December, Portuguese Treasury Secretary Maria Luis Albuquerque called Vinci’s offer “a world record for such transactions involving airports”. At Friday’s signing ceremony, in Lisbon, Louis-Roch Burgard, chief executive of Vinci Concessions, told reporters, according to Bloomberg:

“I think we paid the fair value. We valued the present value and future value of ANA, which we see as a strategic tool for our development,” Burgard said, hinting at the construction of a future airport in the Portuguese capital. Originally, construction of a new airport in Lisbon, said to be worth up to €3.3 billion, was set to be part of ANA’s privatisation.

ANA’s acquisition is a transformational deal for Vinci Airports, the developer’s airports business, which up until now  managed 10 regional French airports and Cambodia’s three hubs, handling a combined 10 million passengers a year. Post-ANA, Vinci Airports will be managing 23 airports handling more than 40 million passengers a year, including a European hub with over 15 million travellers.

Revenues at the airports unit will increase to more than €600 million post-acquisition with EBITDA increasing to €270 million. Pre-ANA, revenues were around €150 million.

ANA handled more than 30 million passengers last year, 80 percent of which were international travellers. It has also been posting a healthy 4 percent-a-year annual passenger growth for the last decade.

“Lisbon offers an important advantage, because it is a hub for destinations that are seeing strong growth (Brazil, and Portuguese-speaking Angola and Mozambique in Africa),” Vinci said.

Vinci had long been eyeing an expansion of its airports business and was involved in last year's race to buy a stake in Turkish airports operator TAV – ultimately won by Aéroports de Paris – as well as the on-again, off-again sale of Hochtief's airports division.

The company is also no stranger to Portugal, holding a 37 percent stake in the operator of Lisbon's two bridges over the Tagus river.

After the crisis hit Portugal hard and the country was forced to ask for assistance from its European Union peers and the International Monetary Fund, plans to build a new airport were scrapped and it was decided to just privatise ANA.