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LMM public-private partnership process draws 12 global bidders

The government is looking for a private manager for the LMM. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

The Public-Private Partnership Authority announced Tuesday it received requests for qualification bids from 12 global companies that are interested in managing the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in tandem with the government.

During a morning news conference, PPPA Executive Director David Álvarez described the bidders as “mature companies looking to enter destinations with growth potential.”

“These consortia are the most experienced institutions in airports worldwide and are willing to invest in Puerto Rico to make a reality the world-class airport that our people deserve,” Álvarez said. “Not many jurisdictions succeed in attracting investors today Puerto Rico is, we have the opportunity to modernize our airport at the hands of the world’s best.”

The 12 interested consortia so far are: Fraport AG y Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners; GMR Infrastructure e Incheon International Airport Corporation; AENA Internacional; Puerto Rico Gateway Group; TAV Airports Holding; Grupo Aeropuertos Avance (“GAA”); AGUNSA (Agencias Universales S.A); Consorcio Flughafen Zürich AG, Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP), Camargo Corrêa e IDC; Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (“ASUR”) and Highstar Capital; Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte (OMA); Corporación América S.A.; and Advent International Corporation (“Advent”).

“Despite the turbulence and volatility that we’ve seen in U.S., global and local markets, we have been managing this process normally, and what we’re seeing here is a great interest by world-class companies,” Government Development Bank President Juan Carlos Batlle said Tuesday. “World-class companies normally do not invest in places where they see no future.”

Puerto Rico Gateway Group, the only interested party to release a statement following its RFQ, is a consortium led by GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the aviation financing and leasing business of GE, that brings together the Allegheny County Airport Authority (which operates and manages Pittsburgh International Airport), TIAA-CREF, a leading U.S. financial services organization with $470 billion in combined assets under management, OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest public pension plans, and AIRMALL USA, developer of the leading airport concessions model in North America and manager of the retail concessions at international airports in Boston, Cleveland, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

“GE has strong relationships with airlines and over 84 years of experience of operating in Puerto Rico. The consortium combines this experience with the strength of the ACAA as an FAA-approved operator and the proven track record of AIRMALL, coupled with long-term experienced infrastructure investors TIAA-CREF and OPTrust,” said Marcus Balmforth, managing director, GECAS Airports. “This uniquely positions the Puerto Rico Gateway Group to provide the best outcome for the Authority, as it seeks to create a world-class gateway to the island.”

The PPPA will now pass the information received from the interested parties to a committee that will have through the end of the month to analyze the documents and pare down the group to create a “short list.” The PPPA will then issue a “Request for Bids,” to which it will invite the selected companies.

The concession will likely be for between 40 to 50 years, Álvarez said. The selected administrator will need to invest between $40 million and $80 million in LMM upgrades during the first three years, which is part of the agreement reached with the airlines to give way to the PPP process, he explained.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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