April 8, 2013 / 4:51 PM / 5 years ago

Brazil's Infraero to auction 2 airports ahead of agency's IPO

* Airport auctions planned ahead of World Cup, Olympics

* Government has considered Infraero IPO for years

* Airports expected to fetch 11.4 bln reais ($5.8 bln

By Rodrigo Viga Gaier

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian airport agency Infraero will put off going public until 2017, after the agency bolsters its assets with proceeds from the upcoming auction of licenses to run two airports, its president said on Monday.

Infraero is still considering a plan to list shares on Brazil’s equity markets but first it wants to strengthen the balance sheet, Infraero President Gustavo do Vale said.

“In order for Infraero to go public you have to stabilize its asset base ... define the size of the company so you can sell something ... we are considering beginning with the process this year and maybe do the listing in 2017,” Vale said.

For years, President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva considered a partial privatization of Infraero through an IPO to address the many infrastructure woes choking growth in Latin America’s biggest economy.

Airport operators Schiphol and Aeroports de Paris may bid together for a stake in Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão airport. The government wants to sell a 51 percent stake in Galeão and Belo Horizonte’s Confins airport to operators who can help improve them ahead of the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Brazil’s government expects bids for both airports to be worth 11.4 billion reais ($5.8 billion). The two airports should be auctioned off by September.

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