LISBON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Portugal took a further step towards selling airport operator ANA, picking five out of eight preliminary bidders to make binding bids in a sale that could make over 2.5 billion euros for the indebted state.
The government said potential bidders included German airport operator Fraport, French construction firm Vinci and Zurich airport operator Flughafen Zurich .
The other two are the Blink consortium that includes Portuguese builder Mota-Engil and Colombian construction company Odinsa, and the Eama consortium grouping Argentinian infrastructure group Corporacion America and Portuguese group Sonae, among others.
Brazilian firms that sources said were among potential bidders were apparently left out.
Treasury Secretary Maria Luis Albuquerque said some of the offers were 12 to 13 times ANA’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), which puts them between 2.4 billion euros and 2.6 billion euros ($3.05 and $3.31 billion) based on ANA’s 2011 EBITDA of 200 million euros.
“The selected offers coincide with the best prices at this nonbinding phase, but they also take into account the strategic point of view,” she said. “Binding offers have to be presented by mid-December.”
Lisbon has already sold large stakes in power companies EDP and REN, mainly to Chinese investors, as a condition of its 78 billion euro international bailout.
It is betting on infrastructure deals to cut its debt as demand for regulated assets in Europe has remained strong despite the region’s debt crisis. ($1 = 0.7856 euros) (Reporting By Sergio Goncalves; Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)