Adani, GMR bid for 6 non-metro airports

India’s Adani Group and GMR Infrastructure Ltd have bid for all the half-a-dozen non-metro airports put up for privatization by the Union government.

Indian airport operator GVK and Singapore’s Changi Airports International did not participate in the just concluded round of bidding. The Airports Authority of India has received 32 bids for the airports in Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru.

Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports received the most number of bids—seven each. The bidders are Adani, GMR, Sydney-based investment manager AMP Capital, PNC Infratech Ltd, Autostrade India (a unit of Italy’s Atlantia SpA) and Prem Watsa’s Fairfax India Holdings Corporation, besides a consortium comprising the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) and Flughafen Zurich AG, the operator of Zurich airport.

The same parties, excluding the NIIF-Flughafen Zurich combine, placed bids for Guwahati airport, while for Lucknow, of the seven, AMP Capital did not place a bid.

Adani, GMR and Cochin Interresponse, The winning bids will be decided based on whoever offers the highest share of revenue per passenger to AAI national Airport Ltd were the only three bidders for the Mangaluru airport, adding Adani, GMR and Kerala State Industrial Development Corp. Ltd bid for the airport in Thiruvananthapuram.

“We’ve received 32 bids in all. The technical scrutiny is going on. There are thousands of documents that we have to go through that pertain to qualifying categories in terms of financial performance and past experience in infrastructure projects,” said Guruprasad Mohapatra, chairman, AAI.

GVK, the concessionaire for the Mumbai international airport and the developer of the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport, was a key absentee in the latest round of airport privatization.

However, Mohapatra said: “The number of bids for each airport in this case were much higher than what the AAI had received in 2016 for greenfield airports at Navi Mumbai and Mopa (Goa), where there had been only two bids each.”

In November, the cabinet had cleared the privatization of the six airports under the public-private partnership model. The airports are currently run by the AAI. In a departure from the model used in the first round of airport privatization more than a decade ago, the AAI sought bids for the operations and maintenance of these airports for a concession period of 50 years. The winning bid will be decided on the basis of the highest monthly per-passenger fee that the concessionaire will offer to the AAI. This is a departure from the revenue-sharing model that the AAI had adopted in the existing privatized airports such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Rating agency Crisil had said that it expects the development of these six airports to attract potential investments worth $1.4 billion, with each roughly needing investments of $200 million.

The last date for submission of bids was 14 February. The financial bids will be opened on 25 February and the letter of award will be issued on 28 February.

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