The restructure and refinancing of Costa
Rica’s airport expansion is a rare example of how
to negotiate concession rights in a politically sensitive
project and region.
Aeris Holding’s operation of the Juan
Santamaria International Airport concession became final in
September when it closed $100 million of financing from
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB).
The new concession was awarded after the original
concessionaire defaulted on its construction and financing
obligations to International Finance Corporation (IFC) and a
group of B lenders. This, combined with concurrent litigation
and restructuring of Quito’s international
airport, heightened the political sensitivities of privatising
public assets in the region.
"As this involved a public concession, the
government was monitoring every step of the way what was being
done," said Jaime Mercado, a partner with Simpson Thacher &
Bartlett who acted for airport operator Aeris.
The September financing marked the end...