A high-ranking executive of Mexico’s Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste said his company is one of two groups remaining to take over the operation of the Luis Muñoz Marín International airport through a public-private partnership with the government, News is my Business learned.
The operator is reportedly up against Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial Aeropuertos, which runs major airport facilities in London and Ireland and has built numerous hotels and roads in Europe and the U.S. mainland.
During an earnings call with investors, Grupo ASUR CEO Adolfo Castro said the operator submitted its bid proposal on Mar. 15, “and we are now one of the two participants shortlisted to present the final piece.”
“We do not have technical date for when these have to take place, but we believe the final piece would have to be presented sometime in May,” he told investors.
Grupo ASUR — which has partnered with Highstar Capital to bid for the LMM P3 — operates nine airports in the southeast of Mexico, including the busy Cancún hub and facilities in Mérida, Cozumel, Villahermosa, Tapachula, Huatulco, Oaxaca, Minatitlán and Veracruz. The publicly traded company serves between 15 million and 17 million passengers per year.
Puerto Rico P3 Authority Executive Director David Álvarez said late Wednesday the agency has “made important progress in the airport project,” but held back from confirming the names of the consortia still competing for the contract.
However, this media outlet learned the other group in the running is Grupo Aeropuertos Avance, a consortia composed by Spain’s Ferrovial Aeropuertos and Macquarie Group.
In September, the P3 Authority announced it had selected six competitors — Grupo ASUR and Highstar; Flughafen Zürich, PSP, CCII, and IDC; Fraport and Goldman Sachs; GMR Infrastructure and Incheon Airport; Grupo Aeropuertos Avance; and Puerto Rico Gateway Group — to move forward in the bidding process that began in July 2011.
The government stands to receive an up-front payment of $1 billion as part of the P3 concession, the government official said.
The selected operator will be required to invest between $40 million and $80 million in “immediate improvements” in the first three years of the contract, which is part of the agreement reached with the airlines to give way to the P3 process. The concession will likely be for between 40 and 50 years.
More P3’s planned
In related news, Gov. Luis Fortuño told reporters Tuesday his administration is putting together a pair of new infrastructure P3’s that will likely enter the competitive process in coming months.
On the one hand, the government is seeking a private sector partner to extend and improve Rte. 5 in Bayamón, a project he said would cost $100 million to complete.
Meanwhile, he also mentioned his administration’s plans to open a P3 to extend PR-22, Puerto Rico’s busiest highway, from where it currently ends in Hatillo, further west to Aguadilla.