Wall Street banks square off over $1B P.R. highway concession
New York-based investment banking firms Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are apparently dueling over the $1 billion privatization project of PR-22, the 52-mile stretch of highway that runs from San Juan to Arecibo.
The Financial Times reported Sunday that the 10-month-old privatization process that the Gov. Luis Fortuño administration launched to turn the operation of one of the island’s busiest roads over to private hands, is close to wrapping up.
According to information contained in the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority’s website, the short list of candidates to land the project are: Abertis Infraestructuras and Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners II, L.P.; Brazil’s Companhia de Concessōes Rodoviárias; Itínere Infraestructuras, S.A. and Citi Infrastructure Investors; and OHL Concesiones and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Inc. The bidding process is slated to wrap up at the end of this month.
The PRPPPA and the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority are considering granting one or more concessions over the six toll roads currently operated by the PRHTA. PR-22, PR-52 and PR-66 are the ones that generate the most revenue.
PR-22, also know as the José de Diego expressway, is the busiest highway in Puerto Rico and has seven tolling stations, the largest of which, Buchanan, accounted for 25.8 million vehicles in fiscal year 2009.
The revenue generated by this highway during the same year was $85.1 million through the Electronic Toll Collection System, according to a description posted on the PRPPPA’s website describing the concession proposal.