Orix Corp., one of the nation’s most acquisitive financial firms, plans to team with French infrastructure operator Vinci SA in a bid for airport rights in Osaka Prefecture, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The group led by Tokyo-based Orix will submit a first-round offer by the Friday afternoon deadline, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
State-run New Kansai International Airport Co., which is selling the rights to run two airports, could receive at least ¥2.2 trillion ($18.2 billion) over the 45-year life of the concessions, according to a statement on its website last year.
Orix’s consortium may be the only bidder, because some other potential suitors were turned off by the risks of operating an airport for decades, according to the people. New Kansai plans to select a preferred bidder in July and reach an agreement in August, according to a Feb. 10 statement.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is privatizing state-controlled airport operations for the first time in a bid to cut public debt and attract private investment. The government is also selling a 30-year concession for Sendai Airport in northeastern Japan, according to transport ministry documents.
A Tokyo-based external spokesman for Vinci, who asked not to be named citing company policy, said the company is bidding for the rights. Atsushi Horii, a spokesman for Orix, said the company has been considering a bid but declined to comment further. Norihisa Tagawa, an Osaka-based spokesman for New Kansai, declined to comment.
New Kansai’s operating profit rose 36 percent in the year through March to ¥44.3 billion. The company’s Kansai International Airport increased passenger throughput 11 percent last financial year to 20.04 million passengers. The number of travelers at Osaka International Airport, which now focuses on domestic flights, increased 4 percent to 14.6 million.