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Friday’s auction was a part of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s efforts to modernize the country’s infrastructure and shore up investor confidence.
Rio is the capital while Belo Horizonte is the largest city in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, hosting the busiest airports in the country.
Out of five consortiums vying for the Rio International Airport, also known as Galeao, the Aeroportos do Futuro (Airports of the Future) the winner paid 19 billion reais ($8.26 billion U.S. dollars), the highest bid, for the right to run the airport for 25 years.
The winning consortium is formed by local company Odebrecht and Changi, which operates the Singapore international airport.
Another consortium Aerobrasil, formed by CCR, Zurich Airport International AG and Munich Airport International Beteiligungs GMBH, paid 1.82 billion reais (791 million U.S. dollars) to win the right to operate the Confins airport in Belo Horizonte for 30 years.
By the rules of the auction, Brazil’s state-controlled airport administration company Infraero, which operated most of Brazil’s airports until airport auctions started two years ago, retains a 49 per cent stake in the privatized airports..
The winners are required by the auction regulations to make large investments in the airports under their administration, like building more terminals and jet bridges, as well as parking spaces and cargo bays.
The winners of the auction will start operating the airports in March 2014.
There will be a transition period of 120 days from Infraero’s administration to the consortiums.
Several other airports in Brazil, including the Guarulhos international airport in Sao Paulo, the largest in the country, have already been auctioned to the private sector.