Mexico's ICA may sell stake in airport group-report

MEXICO CITY Tue May 10, 2011 11:17am EDT

MEXICO CITY May 10 (Reuters) - Mexican construction company ICA may sell its stake in airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte (OMAB.MX) to investment fund Advent, a columnist with El Universal daily said on Tuesday.

Columnist Alberto Aguilar said negotiations between ICA (ICA.N) (ICA.MX) and the fund were going on for a while and that both sides could strike a deal soon. He did not cite specific sources for the information.

ICA and Advent International representatives were not immediately available for comment. The private equity firm has other operations in Latin America, including Brazil and Argentina.

ICA holds a majority stake in OMA, which operates 13 airports in Mexico. Foreign investors cannot hold more than 25 percent in airlines or airport operators, which are considered among the country's strategic assets.

Analysts asked ICA managers during a conference call last week about the possibility of an OMA stake sale, as they have before.

"An asset like OMA has a lot of attractiveness and we have been approached by some firms," an executive said last Tuesday, but said there were no formal bids.

ICA's airport business posted sales of 620 million pesos in the first quarter, about 7 percent of revenue, and contributed close to 17 percent of ICA's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization during the period.

Shares of the construction company rose 1.07 percent to 28.25 pesos in Mexico while its New York-traded stock added 0.93 percent to $9.72. (Reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz. Editing by Robert MacMillan)