Portugal Sees Interest In ANA Airports Company

August 30, 2012

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Portugal's government said various local and foreign companies were interested in buying airport management company ANA, as it gave the formal go-ahead for the sale of the group, which it said should be complete by the end of the year.

The sale is part of a larger privatisation drive agreed under the terms of a EUR€78 billion (USD$97.6 billion) EU/IMF bailout for debt-laden Portugal.

The government has already successfully offloaded large stakes in power sector companies EDP and REN, mainly to Chinese investors.

"The government knows that there are various Portuguese and foreign investors interested in taking part (in ANA privatisation), although we're still not in the bidding phase," treasury and finance secretary Maria Luis de Albuquerque told reporters.

The government plans to sell 95 percent of the company to an investor or investors, and will offer 5 percent to ANA employees.

ANA manages Portugal's main airports in the largest cities of Lisbon and Porto as well as in the southern regions Algarve and Alentejo and in the Azores archipelago. Combined traffic last year exceeded 30 million passengers.

ANA, which employs 2,800 people, had a record profit last year of EUR€76.5 million and revenues of EUR€425 million despite the country's economic crisis, as the number of foreign visitors rose.

Earlier this month, the government gave the go-ahead to the long-planned privatisation of airline TAP.

Local media have said the state hopes to obtain over EUR€1.5 billion from the sale of ANA and TAP.

The carrier's sale is mostly expected to cover its EUR€1.2 billion debt, but is unlikely to bring a lot of new cash, but ANA is expected to attract hefty bids.

(Reuters)