MADRID Oct 28 Spain is seeking three to five
core investors to buy 20 percent to 30 percent of debt-burdened
state airport operator Aena and may then float further shares to
leave as much as 60 percent of the company in private hands,
according to an official report.
The Privatisation Consulting Council (CCP) study made public
on Monday was commissioned by Aena to assess the legal basis for
the government's privatisation plan. Details of the plan were
unknown until now.
Investment bank Lazard and Spain's N+1 brokerage have been
hired to help line up investors for Aena. However, sources close
to the process said there was a slim chance of meeting the
government's goal of a deal early next year unless Madrid's
Barajas airport, which represents 20 percent of Aena's income,
can turn around a decline in traffic.
Spain has struggled for years to privatise Aena, which
operates 46 Spanish airports and London's Luton and has stakes
in 14 Latin American airports. The last attempt was cancelled in
2011 as Spain's deep economic and fiscal crisis made it
difficult to get a good price.
In the past the government had sought infrastructure firms
to take control of Aena. But sources have told Reuters that this
time the government has approached financial investors to take
the core stakes.
The CCP report said that Aena's plan was that none of the
major investors would take more than a 10 percent stake.
Aena has debts of 13 billion euros ($17.9 billion) from a
rapid expansion during the country's decade-long construction
Investors are beginning to look at Spanish assets again
after signs the country's economy may be returning to growth
after two years of recession.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently bought a 6 percent
stake in Spanish builder FCC, Colombian and U.S.
investors bought new shares in Spanish lender Banco Sabadell
and sources say a Canadian paper group is interested
in Spain's Indas.