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Portuguese Government Approves Airport Operator Sale Plan

The Portuguese government approved a plan to sell all of ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal SA, the state-owned manager of the country’s airports, to meet terms of an international financial rescue.

Portugal will sell ANA to one or more investors through private negotiations, according to a statement handed to reporters in Lisbon following the weekly cabinet meeting. The government also plans an offering of shares for ANA employees.

The country last year became the third euro-area nation after Greece and Ireland to request a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. As part of the aid package, the government has already sold stakes in companies including Portugal’s biggest utility and the energy-grid operator, and it also plans to sell airline TAP SGPS SA.

“The government knows there are various investors interested in taking part in the privatization of ANA,” Maria Luis Albuquerque, the secretary of state for treasury and finance, said at the press conference. Authorities plan to find a buyer for ANA by the end of 2012, Albuquerque said.

Economy Minister Alvaro Santos Pereira said in a June 1 interview that there are more than a dozen potential bidders interested in ANA.

Teixeira Duarte SA, a Portuguese construction company, said on July 26 that it agreed with an airport-operating unit of Ferrovial SA to look at a purchase of ANA and may eventually submit a proposal with the Spanish builder. Brisa-Auto Estradas de Portugal SA, the biggest toll-road operator in the country, said on April 23 that it signed a memorandum of understanding with Brazilian counterpart CCR SA to study the the state’s planned sale of ANA.

Portugal has hired Barclays Plc, Banco Espirito Santo SA, Citigroup Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG as advisers for the disposal of TAP and ANA.

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