Portugal gets 4 binding bids for airport operator

Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:47am EST

* Colombia's Odinsa, Portugal's Mota-Engil likely dropout

* France's Vinci, Fughafen Zurich confirmed

* Argentine-led bid has Mexico's Tradeco onboard

LISBON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Portugal's state property agency Parpublica has received four binding bids for airport operator ANA after one bidder dropped out of a privatisation process that could earn the bailed-out government more than 2.5 billion euros.

Parpublica gave the number of bids in a statement late on Friday but it provided no further details.

Sources familiar with the matter have said groups led by German airport operator Fraport, French construction firm Vinci, Zurich airport operator Flughafen Zurich and Argentinian infrastructure group Corporacion America would put in final bids.

That would leave out a consortium made up of Colombian construction company Odinsa and Portuguese builder Mota Engil that was among the five that qualified for the binding offers phase last month.

Lisbon is betting on infrastructure sales to cut its debt as a condition of its 78 billion euro ($102 billion) international bailout, as demand for regulated assets in Europe remains strong despite the region's debt crisis.

It has so far sold stakes in power companies EDP and REN, mainly to Chinese investors.

Flughafen Zurich has confirmed that it presented a joint bid with Global Infrastructure Partners fund and Brazil's motorway operator CCR.

Corporacion America also said it presented a binding bid in a consortium that includes Mexican infrastructure construction firm Tradeco, as well as Portugal's Sonae. The third confirmed bid is by France's Vinci.

The offers are expected to be for more than 2.5 billion euros in a competitive race for access to a network of airports, including those serving the largest cities of Lisbon and Porto, as well as in the southern regions Algarve and Alentejo and in the Azores archipelago.

ANA posted a record profit last year of 76.5 million euros and revenue of 425 million as the number of foreign visitors rose.

More than three-fifths of its revenue comes from domestic and intra-European flights, and Portugal hopes the potential for growth in long-haul flights to South America and Africa, which could generate high fees for ANA, will appeal to investors. ($1 = 0.7628 euros) (Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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