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World Duty Free Makes Best Bid for Spanish Duty-Free Stores

State-owned Spanish airport operator Aeropuertos Espanoles y Navegacion Aerea said World Duty Free Group Espana made the best bid to manage duty-free shops at 20 airports including Madrid and Barcelona.

The airport operator, known as Aena, said in a statement today that World Duty Free Espana offered 887.6 million euros ($1.15 billion) in income from 2013 through Oct. 31, 2020, to manage the second set of the 80 duty-free shops included in its network of 26 airports such as the Barcelona-El Prat airport.

World Duty Free earlier today presented the best bid for the first set, which includes the Madrid-Barajas airport, offering 753.2 million euros. Sociedad de Distribucion Comercial Aeroportuaria de Canarias, or Canariensis, was chosen for the third group, covering the Canary Islands, after offering 323.5 million euros, Madrid-based Aena said. Aena’s board will analyze all bids at a Dec. 18 meeting.

Aena is outsourcing the management of the outlets to encourage competition as the government seeks to boost its value after canceling tenders earlier this year to sell management contracts for the Madrid and Barcelona airports. Aena aims to increase duty free shops’ sales to 700 million euros a year from 535 million euros last year.

The seven participants in the tender for the three batches were SIGMA, Canariensis, World Duty Free Group Espana SA, Dufry Islas Canarias SL, Dufry Hispanosuiza SL, Areas SA and Gebr. Heinemann SE & Co.

The operator manages or has stakes in 47 airports in Spain and had 1.68 billion euros of short-term debt at the end of 2011, according to its annual report. Last month, Aena had to reduce the size of loans it is seeking as borrowers’ demand for longer-term debt wanes in the recession-affected country.

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