Mitsubishi Said to Weigh Bid for Japan Sendai Airport Concession

Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s biggest trading house, may bid for the rights to operate Sendai Airport in northeastern Japan, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Mitsubishi may try to team up with another Japanese company when the government starts an auction of the 30-year concession later this year, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Japan is privatizing operations of state-run airports as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to boost private investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Last year, Mitsubishi and Japan’s Jalux Inc. were part of a bidding group that entered exclusive talks with the Myanmar government for the operation of Mandalay International Airport.

Spokesmen for Mitsubishi and Japan’s transport ministry declined to comment.

The Sendai Airport is Japan’s 12th busiest, handling 2.67 million passengers annually, according to data compiled by the transport ministry. An earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 in northeastern Japan caused more than 10 billion yen ($95 million) of damage at runways, parking lots and a terminal building at the airport, transport ministry data shows.

Preferred Bidder

The transport ministry plans to start the auction for the Sendai Airport in Miyagi prefecture in the fiscal year starting April and will select a preferred bidder by March 2015, according to a document it released in November. A concessionaire would have an option to extend the initial 30-year contract to as much as 65 years, the document shows.

Fukuoka Airport, on the southwestern island of Kyushu, is among other state-run airports in Japan considering the sale of airport concessions, people familiar with the matter said in October. New Kansai International Airport Co. plans to raise as much as 1.2 trillion yen from the sale of rights to operate two airports in Osaka in western Japan, people with knowledge of the matter said in February last year.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.