Brazil Gets $9 Billion In Airport Auction

SAO PAULO (AP) — The Brazilian government on Friday fetched $9.14 billion in an auction for 51 percent stakes in the international airports of Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, cities that host next year's World Cup soccer games.

The Civil Aeronautics Agency said the Aeroportos do Futuro consortium formed by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht and the Changi Airport Group that operates the Singapore airport presented the winning bid for Rio de Janeiro's Antonio Carlos Jobim Airport at $8.3 billion. The minimum bid for the 25-year concession was $2.12 billion.

The Aerobrasil group formed by Brazilian construction company CCR and the operators of the Zurich and Munich airports paid $840 million for Belo Horizonte's Confins airport. The minimum bid for the 30-year concession was $481 million.

Together, the two airports account for 14 percent of Brazil's passenger traffic, according to ANAC.

The auctions for both airports, held at the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, are part of the government's efforts to improve the country's infrastructure ahead of the World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games to be held in Rio.

Improving airports plagued with bottlenecks, long lines and poor infrastructure was a key promise the government made in its winning bid to host the World Cup, during which hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to fly between the 12 cities where the matches will be held.

ANAC said the Aeroportos do Futuro consortium is expected to invest $2.1 billion to improve and expand installations at Rio's international airport.

The Aerobrasil group is expected to invest $1.54 billion in the construction of a new terminal and runway at Confins.

Last year, the government privatized three airports including the nation's busiest airport in Sao Paulo, along with those in the capital Brasilia and in the city of Campinas in Sao Paulo state. Together, they respond for 30 percent of Brazil's passenger traffic.

In August of 2011, the government auctioned the rights to build and operate an airport in the nation's northeast near the city of Natal, which will host World Cup matches.

Infraero, the state-run agency that has long operated airports, retains a 49 percent stake in all the privatized airports.

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