| TOKYO, July 25
TOKYO, July 25 Japan will in October invite bids
for the operating rights for a major international airport, an
official said on Friday, in a deal expected to be among the
biggest in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive to draw private
funds into public infrastructure.
The licence for New Kansai International Airport, which will
be bundled with the operating rights for smaller Osaka
International Airport, should fetch at least 2 trillion yen ($20
billion), Keiichi Ando, the chief executive of the
government-owned New Kansai International Airport Co, told
The operating licence for both airports will be for 45 years
and the auction is open to foreign and domestic investors, he
added. The winner is likely to be announced by June next year.
The company, which runs both airports, will use the proceeds
to repay its 1.2 trillion yen debt to the state, Ando said. New
Kansai International Airport is a regional hub in Osaka bay and
Japan's fifth-largest airport by passenger traffic while Osaka
airport is smaller.
SMBC Nikko Securities, the investment banking unit of
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Citigroup Inc
are among the advisers for the sale.
The auction is part of Abe's target to triple private-sector
investment in Japan's infrastructure to 12 trillion yen over the
next decade as he tackles bloated government debt. Last month,
the government started the bidding process for the operating
rights of Sendai Airport.
Earlier this year, an official at Goldman Sachs Group Inc
said the investment bank was considering investing in
Ando said he hoped Japan's three largest banks, as well as
the state-owned Development Bank of Japan, would take part in
Mizuho Financial Group Inc will "positively
consider" the auction, a spokesman said. Bank of
Mitsubishi-Tokyo UFJ Ltd, the main unit of Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group Inc, will consider providing debt
finance, a bank spokesman said.
A spokesman for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, the main unit
of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, said the bank would make
"serious efforts to respond to the needs of the sale".
A spokesman for the Development Bank of Japan was not
immediately available for comments.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by William Mallard and