ASUR, Highstar Capital in Successful Bid to Operate Puerto Rico Airport
July 19, 2012
Cleary Gottlieb is representing Aerostar Airport Holdings, a consortium comprising long-time Cleary Gottlieb clients Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) and Highstar Capital in the 40-year lease to operate the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (LMM) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The concession was awarded on July 19, 2012 after a public bidding process that began in March 2011. Over the course of the concession, Aerostar plans to invest nearly $1.4 billion in capital improvements at LMM, including an upfront $615 million leasehold fee. Cleary Gottlieb is also representing Aerostar in the negotiation of the financing for the concession.
LMM is the busiest airport in the Caribbean, handling over 8.5 million passengers per year served by over 14 airlines, with destinations in the United States, South America and Europe. The lease transaction will be the first for a major U.S. airport under the Federal Aviation Administration’s pilot privatization program.
ASUR is the largest privatized airport group in Mexico by net income and market capitalization and holds concessions to operate, maintain and develop nine airports in the region, including Cancún International Airport. Highstar Capital currently manages more than $5.6 billion on behalf of its managed funds and co-investment vehicles and has broad experience with PPP transactions, including in the Port of Baltimore, the Port of Oakland, Port Newark Container Terminal and London City Airport.