Over 20 national, international suitors line up to bid for AAI airports

Indian entities including GMR, GVK and Adani group might also launch bids, while foreign investors like Flughafen Zurich AG, Altaltia and Macquarie were present at the pre-bid conference
Over 20 national, international suitors line up to bid for AAI airports

New Delhi: India's plans for privatising six airports in the country have attracted the interest of over 20 potential investors, said a person who attended the pre-bid conference of the government's privatisation proposal. At present, six airports — Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram — currently operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) could be up for offer. Indian entities including GMR, which operates the airports in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Philippines, GVK, which operates Mumbai airport and two Indonesia airports, and the Adani Group might also launch bids, the source said.

The conference also elicited interest from foreign PE investors such as Italy's Atlantia, Australia's Macquarie, and Canadian asset management company Brookfield, said the source, adding that representatives from Flughafen Zurich AG, which runs Switzerland's Zurich airport, were present at the conference. The last date for submitting bids is February 14 while the letter of award will be issued on February 28.

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The pre-bid conference

"At the pre-bid conference, interested parties raised questions about the bidding process, the deal structure, and revenue models. We expect to receive clarifications soon as the commercial bids have to be submitted by 14 February," the source said. The pre-bid conference also drew the interest of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corp. Ltd (KSIDC). The state government, through KSIDC, enjoys the unique advantage of the first right of refusal in the bid process. "The Kerala government can retain control of the asset instead of handing it over to a private party if it makes an offer within a 10 percent range of the highest bidder," a person advising one of the bidders said. "For instance, if a private player offers ₹50 per passenger to AAI and this is the highest bid, then KSIDC can retain the asset if it offers at least Rs 45 per passenger to AAI instead."

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