* Vinci Airports buys Airports Worldwide’s portfolio
* Deal allows Vinci Airports to enter U.S, expand in Europe
* Vinci shares rise, top gainer on CAC-40 index
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, April 24 (Reuters) - France’s Vinci on Tuesday said it had agreed to buy the airports management portfolio of Airports Worldwide, gaining a foothold in the United States, the world’s biggest air transport market, and expanding its presence in Europe and South America.
The deal, whose financial details were not disclosed, covers the purchase of a portfolio comprising operations at twelve airports located in the United States, Costa Rica, Northern Ireland and Sweden, Vinci said in a statement.
“This acquisition allows Vinci Airports to make a strategic move into the United States, giving it an entry point into the world’s largest air transport market,” the statement said.
It will boost Vinci Airports’ global network to 45 airports and increase the number of passengers in its airports by 25.6 million to more than 182 million a year.
The deal is in line with Vinci’s strategy to expand into faster growing and more profitable concessions such as airports, notably abroad and in motorways to counter a weaker construction market in France.
In a separate statement, OMERS Infrastructure, the infrastructure investment manager of OMERS, the pension plan for municipal employees in the Province of Ontario, Canada, which is to sell its interests in Airports Worldwide to Vinci Airports, said the deal was expected to close later this year.
By 0844 GMT, Vinci shares gained 1.40 percent at 84.02 euros, the top gainer on the CAC-40 index of French blue chips. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon Editing by Ingrid Melander)