India gets five bids to buy stakes in New Delhi and Mumbai airports

NEW DELHI (XFNews) - India's civil aviation ministry said it received five bids to buy majority stakes in the New Delhi and Mumbai international airports after two prospective bidders withdrew in the past week.

"I think the response is very good and we are very satisfied with it," said civil aviation secretary Ajay Prasad.

"In most cases of privatization there are only two to three bidders. It will be our endeavor to complete the process in as short a time as possible."

India offered a 74 pct stake in the two airports, where a lack of funds has hampered modernization at a time of rapid expansion of flights, reported Agence France-Presse.

The state-owned Airports Authority of India will keep a 26 pct stake.

India's domestic and international airline passenger traffic has risen by 25 pct a year on the back of strong economic growth, but the lack of infrastructure such as parking space and runways has obstructed further expansion.

The bidders for both locations include consortiums led by Aeroport de Paris, Munich airport and ASA Mexico.
One consortium led by Airports Company South Africa has bid only for Mumbai.
Prasad said the ministry will evaluate the bids in the coming months and hopes to announce winners by the end of the year.

Two consortia pulled out of the bidding process in the past week, citing the complexity of the contract details.
German construction group Hochtief and its Indian partners and a consortium that included Singapore's Changi Airport and Indian telecom group Bharti decided against bidding.

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