Spain halts plan to privatise Madrid, Barcelona airports
Spain's new right-leaning government said Thursday it will halt plans to privatise the Madrid and Barcelona airports, saying the timing could not be worse.
A tender for the privatisation of 90.05 percent of the Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat airports is set to end January 30.
The previous Socialist government last year delayed the sale by three months at the request of bidders who had trouble finding the financing. It had hoped to get a total price of 5.3 billion euros ($6.8 billion).
The conservative Popular Party, which took power last month after winning November 20 elections, had opposed the sell-off.
"I have all the studies on the table to put in place the necessary process so that no one sells, we do not sell, these assets at the worst possible time for our economy," said Transport Minister Ana Pastor.
"That is what was about to happen," she told Onda Cero radio.
Consortiums led by India's GMR Infrastructure, Singapore's Changi Airport, Spain's Ferrovial, the French Aeroports de Paris and Germany's Fraport had been eyeing both airports.
For Madrid's Barajas airport, Spain's Grupo San Jose group was also a bidder, while Spanish group Abertis was on the list of those seeking Barcelona's El Prat.
The previous government had also planned to sell 49 percent of national airport operator AENA but never launched the process.
© 2012 AFP