The sole bidder, Aena wins Congonhas Airport auction

Spanish airport operator Aena won a concession contract this afternoon for São Paulo’s Congonhas Airport, Brazil’s second-busiest, along with ten smaller airports spread across. The winning bid of BRL 2.45 billion (USD 470 million) included a 231-percent premium regarding the established minimum grant. 

“We want to contribute to airport development in Brazil. The country is a very important part of our strategic vision of international expansion,” said Maria Rubio, Aena’s international director.

The company already manages six airports in the country’s Northeast and was the sole bidder in today’s auction.

As we showed in this morning’s Brazil Daily newsletter, despite the high commercial potential of Congonhas Airport, experts believed that now was not the best time for an auction. In addition to the presidential race, investors were put off by high interest rates and uncertainties regarding economic recovery. 

Additionally, the block of airports up for auction contained facilities spread out across the country, including in Campo Grande, Corumbá, and Ponta Porã in Mato Grosso do Sul state; Santarém, Marabá, Parauapebas, and Altamira in Pará, and Uberlândia, Uberaba, and Montes Claros in Minas Gerais.

Infrastructure Minister Marcelo Sampaio said that the auction was a success despite the sole bid, boasting about the concession’s three-digit premium.

“This airplane, which is Brazil, has been producing results every month. Brazil has become a safe destination for the world’s capital,” the minister said during a press conference, while praising President Jair Bolsonaro’s government. 

Mr. Sampaio also attributed the low number of competitors to the challenging global scenario, with emphasis on the war in Ukraine and its impacts on the international economy. However, he said the auction took place at the right time because it represents much-needed improvements for the population in many areas of the country. 

The second block up for grabs today — including airports in the state capitals of Pará and Amapá — was the only one that received more than one bid. Consortium Norte prevailed with an offer of BRL 125 million, 119.7 percent over the minimum grant established in the tender.

The group was also disputed by French consortium Vinci Airports, which operates a terminal in Salvador and won contracts for seven other airports last year.

The third bloc, formed by the airports of Jacarepaguá, in Rio, and Campo de Marte, in São Paulo, was awarded to infrastructure fund XP Infra IV. The company was the only interested party and took the minimum offer of BRL 141.4 million, practically the same as the minimum grant.

The next step after the auction will be to gather the necessary documentation from winning bidders, with an August 25 deadline.

The companies that acquired airports in today’s auction should invest around BRL 7.2 billion during the 30-year concession period. 

With this latest auction, over 91 percent of Brazilian air traffic will go through privately owned airports.

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