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Cabinet approves AENA sale

Source: Bloomberg - Fri 15th Jul 2011

Jose Blanco, the Minister for development and also the newly appointed government spokesperson, announced today that the Cabinet has approved the sale of the 49% share in AENA - the Spanish Airport Authority - and of management contracts for Barajas airport in Madrid, and El Prat in Barcelona.

Two new companies will be created and the successful bidders will take a 90.05% stake in each company, with Aena holding the remainder of the shares.

The Government is selling state assets such as AENA and the National lottery in a bid to raise finances, despite critics estimating that the 20 Billion euros that the combined sales are expected to reach, will have little impact.

The management contracts are set to run for 20 years, to be extendable by a further 5, which is longer than the 15-year period the government proposed in their initial presentation last month. The Madrid tender will raise at least 3.7 billion euros and the Barcelona sale 1.6 billion euros, the Development Ministry said in a statement.

The operators will also have to pay an annual fee equivalent to 20% of revenue, which for next year has been set at 150 million euros for Madrid and 80 million euros in Barcelona.

Aena handles 200 million passengers annually in 47 Spanish airports - soon to become 48 with Murcia's Corvera airport - and the 28 it manages outside Spain. Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El Prat are Europe's fourth- and ninth-busiest airports with 49.8 million and 29.2 million passengers a year respectively. In 2010, Barajas reported a net loss of 134.7 million euros and El Prat lost 73.9 million euros after tax.

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