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With Strong Competition, Goodwill in the Airport’s Auction Goes to R $ 2.2 Billion

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With a strong competition and presence of several foreign companies, the auction of 12 regional airports, held on Friday (15), raised R $ 2.38 billion in the grant for the federal government coffers and R $ 3.5 billion in investments, which will be applied over the 30 years of the contracts.

Three blocks were auctioned in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest regions.

Spain’s Aena, Swiss Zurich and the Aeroeste consortium, led by Brazil’s Socicam, have paid R $ 2.16 billion above the minimum required by the government, which represents a 986% premium.

Investors from losing consortiums considered that the final goodwill was very high because the minimum bids set for the event were underestimated.

Still, the assessment is that the result was positive and signals investor optimism in relation to the country’s growth. The perception is that the next rounds of auctions, already announced by the government, have been equally favorable.

“The auction was a success and it is the result of a more balanced concession contact.” There is a bet in the country, investors can see the next steps in the sector, and he knows that there is a prospect that airports such as Congonhas and Santos Dumont will be auctioned Which makes the market much more attractive, “says Bruno Werneck, a partner at Mattos Filho, who represented Vinci, one of the competitors.

In the case of the block of the Northeast, the main asset of the auction, the minimum bid required the payment of R $ 171 million in the signing of the contract. At the end of the dispute between the Spanish company Aena and Swiss Zurich, the value rose to R $ 1.9 billion.

The winner was state-run Aena, which is responsible for Madrid-Barajas airport and has operations in Mexico, Colombia, and the United Kingdom.

In Brazil, this will be the first investment of the company, which had already participated in auctions in the past, without success.

The company will operate six airports in the Northeast and will have to make R $ 2.15 billion of investments. Recife’s international airport is the block’s main asset.

Swiss Zurich failed to beat the Spaniard’s bid but led another block from the Southeast, which includes the airports of Vitoria (ES) and Macae (RJ).

The proposal was of R $ 437 million granted to the government, also well above the minimum amount required in the announcement, of R $ 46.9 million.

Zurich already has a presence in the country, but it keeps its appetite for more airports. In addition to being a partner of Confins (MG), the company took over the international airport of Florianopolis in the last round of concessions of 2017.

The group also returned to express interest in Viracopos, in Campinas, which is under judicial reorganization.

“Viracopos airport interests us, but its financial structure is completely ruined. This needs to be resolved,” said Stefan Conrad, president of the Latin American operation.

To make competitive bids, foreign companies may have benefited from access to cheaper financing outside the country with lower interest rates, says Credit Suisse analyst Felipe Vinagre.

Aena, which is expected to make the largest disbursements of this auction, will finance investments with its own resources, said Juan Jose Alvarez, the group’s international director.

Zurich said that the company’s intention is “to seek resources in the Brazilian market,” but declined to provide further information on its financing structure.

In the case of Spain’s Aena, the company may also have agreed to pay a higher price to enter the country, analysts said.

“There is a strategic motivation for the company to learn about the Brazilian market and be ready for the next auctions, which may have been stronger than the intention to extract high profitability,” says Credit Suisse’s Vinegar.

The prospect of new rounds of airports and a resumption of growth in the country were determining factors in the bids of foreigners, says Marcos Gaunt, executive director of Alvarez and Marsal. “If you look at growth in Europe and in other countries around the world, the potential for appreciation in Brazil is greater,” he says.

Germany’s Fraport and France’s Vinci – two other international groups that were big bets at the auction – also made bids, but much more timid.

In the block of the Northeast, the proposals of the two companies were the lowest among the six offers received.