18 Companies Want To Lease St. Louis' Airport — Here's What You Should Know About Them | St. Louis Public Radio

18 Companies Want To Lease St. Louis' Airport — Here's What You Should Know About Them

Nov 6, 2019

Updated Nov. 6 with more information about the bidders — 

The Airport Advisory Working Group on Wednesday released additional information about each of the 18 companies and groups interested in bidding on a potential long-term lease of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

(Scroll below to see a detailed list of the companies.)

Notably missing from the list is Ferrovial Airports, which led the partial privatization in Denver that recently fell apart. Former St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay deregistered as a lobbyist for the company on Friday. In an email, he said he did so because the company decided not to put in a bid. The company declined to comment.

Slay said he does not plan to join any other participating teams.

“I do believe this is a worthwhile effort the city has undertaken, and I am very pleased by the number of companies that have shown an interest and have responded to the RFQ,” he said.

The list includes individual companies and teams of companies with varying expertise. They include Canadian pension funds, international airport operators and private equity and real estate firms. 

The working group plans to narrow the list over the next few weeks. It will then ask those respondents to submit detailed proposals.

The working group has been meeting for more than a year with a slew of consultants to weigh whether a private operator could improve the airport and stoke regional economic development, while providing the city with a cash influx.

The RFQ issued by the group outlines the potential opportunities of a privatization deal and asks companies to explain how they’re qualified to achieve those goals. Among other things, companies were asked to detail their ability to improve and manage airports on a budget, maintain productive relationships with government entities and express knowledge of airport safety.

The following 18 companies and groups submitted their qualifications to the working group:

AENA Internacional

  • Who they are: A subsidiary of a state-owned airport operator company based in Spain
  • What they do: Airport services and operations
  • U.S. airport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: AENA Internacional’s parent company manages 46 airports in Spain and holds shares in 17 additional airports in Europe and the Americas. Earlier this year, AENA International acquired six airports in Brazil

AMP Capital

  • Who they are: A company based in Australia
  • What they do: Global investment manager of infrastructure, real estate and equities
  • U.S. airport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: AMP Capital owns Leeds Bradford Airport and holds a roughly 50% stake in Newcastle Airport and London Luton in the United Kingdom. The company also holds a minority stake in Australia Pacific Airports Corp., which owns Melbourne Airport and Launceston airports. Plus, it holds a 50% stake in Port Hedland Airport in Australia

Atlantia

  • Who they are: Company based in Italy
  • What they do: Invest in infrastructure sectors, manage toll roads in Europe, Latin America and India
  • U.S. airport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: Atlantia holds a majority stake in Aeroporti di Roma, which operates two airports in Rome and a minority stake in Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur, which operates three airports in the south of France, and Aeroporto G. Marconi di Bologna in Italy
  • Other associations: The company holds a minority stake in German construction company Hochtief, which sold its airport division several years ago, and Getlink, which manages and operates the Channel Tunnel between England and France

Corporacion America Airports (CAAP)

  • Who they are: Company based in Luxembourg
  • What they do: Airport and concessions management
  • U.S. airport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: CAAP operates airport and cargo terminals for more than 50 airports in Europe and Latin America, including 33 in Argentina

daa International

  • Who they are: A state-owned company based in Ireland
  • What they do: Airport management and consulting on airports and concessions 
  • U.S. airport projects: Redesigned concessions in John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4 in New York
  • Current airport holdings: It operates airports in Dublin and Cork in Ireland and manages terminal operations at King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia. Through its subsidiary Aer Rianta International, it holds a minority stake in the airport in Dusseldorf, Germany, and two Cyprus airports
  • Other associations: Subsidiaries include Dublin Airport Central business development and Aer Rianta International, which holds interests in airport retailing in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia

Gateway Airport Partners

  • Who they are: International consortium of Canadian and Dutch companies
  • What they do: Manage an infrastructure investment portfolio of more than $13 billion, oversee airport investments across Europe (Ontario Airports Investments Limited, as a subsidiary of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan), provide advisory and management services to airports and investors (Copenhagen Airports International)
  • U.S. airport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: Investments in Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels, Copenhagen and London City airports
  • Other things to note: In 2016, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan purchased London City Airport through a consortium including OMERS, which is separately pursuing St. Louis Lambert International

Global Infrastructure Partners

  • Who they are: Private equity and investment firm based in New York
  • What they do: Manage $68 billion in infrastructure investments globally 
  • U.S. airport projects: In October, it invested in Paine Field Airport, north of Seattle in Washington
  • Current airport holdings: The firm holds a minority stake in London Gatwick Airport in the U.K. (it previously held majority stake between 2009 and May 2019) and owns and manages Edinburgh Airport in Scotland
  • Other associations: It holds stakes in numerous companies within high-speed rail transport, shipping, port and energy sectors
  • Other things to note: Earlier this year, Scottish news reports indicated GIP is considering selling Edinburgh Airport. In 2016, it sold London City Airport to a consortium including the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and OMERS, which are both separately pursuing St. Louis Lambert International Airport

GRID Realty

  • Who they are: A real estate firm based in Olivette, Missouri
  • What they do: GRID develops and sells property in the St. Louis region
  • U.S. airport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: None
  • Other things to note: The company has participated in land sales for Anheuser-Busch, and has worked with the Missouri Development Finance Board, Express Scripts and Charter Communications. GRID principal Mike Goellner told the St. Louis Business Journal that he’s not interested in operating Lambert. Rather, he wants to develop the unused 1,200 acres that surround the airport. 

IFM Investors and MAG Overseas Investments Limited, on behalf of Manchester Airports Group

  • Who they are: Australian private equity firm that’s partnered with British airport investors
  • What they do: Manage $41 billion of direct infrastructure equity investments mainly in Australia and New Zealand (IFM Investors), operate airports and invest in airport-associated property (Manchester Airports Group)
  • U.S. aiport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: Operates three U.K. airports (MAG), holds a minority stake in three Australian airports, as well as Vienna Airport in Austria (IFM)
  • Other things to note: IFM invests in road, utility and shipping projects across the U.S. The company also invests in U.K. airports operated by MAG.

Lambert Gateway Partners

  • Who they are: A newly formed St. Louis-based consortium
  • What they do: Manage over $14 billion in investor capital in infrastructure projects (Blackstone Infrastructure Partners); airport design and management (Groupe ADP); food and beverage servicing (The Bridgeman Hospitality Group, Cleveland Avenue); retirement program investing (the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri)
  • U.S. airport projects: Recently awarded a number of strategic planning contracts for JFK International Airport, LaGuardia and Denver International Airport (Groupe ADP through member Merchant Aviation)
  • Current airport holdings: Manages three airports in Paris and 25 globally (Groupe ADP)
  • Other things to note: The Hall of Fame Group is also included in this consortium, but it’s unclear what services it provides

Momentum Aviation Partners

  • Who they are: An international consortium 
  • What they do: Manage $11 billion in infrastructure investments globally (Partners Group); operates airports (ASUR); and constructs large-scale projects in health care, transportation and sports (AECOM Hunt) 
  • U.S. airport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: Responsible for managing nearly a dozen airports in Mexico (ASUR) as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico airport 
  • Other associations: AECOM Hunt has being involved in the construction of 13 NHL and 14 NBA arenas, as well as 14 NFL and 18 MLB stadiums. Partners Group has registered lobbyists from Lewis Rice law office, including David Sweeney and Sonnette Magnus.

H.R.L. Morrison & Co.

  • Who they are: A global asset manager based in New Zealand
  • What they do: Invest in utilities and infrastructure funds, manage over $3 billion in privately held airports
  • U.S. aiport projects:  None
  • Current airport holdings: A majority stake in Wellington International Airport in New Zealand and investments in seven airports in Australia. It also invests in airport companies in Europe and Asia
  • Other things to note: The company has made investments in renewable energy projects in the U.S. It has publicly opposed the addition of new airport regulations during a 2019 study on Australia’s regulatory laws.

Odinsa

  • Who they are: An infrastructure subsidiary of Grupo Argos, based in Colombia
  • What they do: Operate airports and manages concessions (Odinsa); design and maintain highways in South and Central America (Argos)
  • U.S. airport projects: None
  • Current airport holdings: A majority stake in El Dorado Bogota International Airport; a minority stake in El Quito International Airport; and concession operations at two airports in South America
  • Other things to note: Argos has been involved in the construction of numerous U.S. commercial cement and ready-mix concrete projects, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and Houston Methodist Hospital Water Tower.

OMERS Infrastructure and Fraport

  • Who they are: Subsidiary of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System teamed up with a German transport company
  • What they do: Invest pension funds in real estate and infrastructure projects; manage nearly $13 billion in infrastructure assets (OMERS); manage airports (Fraport)
  • U.S. airport projects: Recently sold interest in a portfolio of airports and management contracts in multiple countries, including the U.S. (OMERS); concession operations at Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh airports, among others (Fraport)
  • Current airport holdings: Owner of London City Airport (OMERS), manager of Frankfurt Airport in Germany and works in various capacities with more than 20 airports (Fraport)
  • Other associations: Holds a minority stake in VTG AG, a major railcar leasing and rail logistics company in Europe 
  • Other things to note: In 2016, OMERS bought London City Airport through a consortium including the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which is separately pursuing St. Louis Lambert International Airport

Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSPIB) and AviAlliance

  • Who they are: Canadian pension investment manager and its German subsidiary
  • What they do: PSPIB has invested more than $11 billion in infrastructure projects, and AviAlliance manages airports
  • U.S. airport projects: A minority stake investment in Aerostar Airport Holdings, which operates Puerto Rico’s privatized Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (AviAlliance)
  • Current airport holdings: Majority stakes in airports in Athens, Greece, and Budapest, Hungary, airports; minority stakes in airports in Dusseldorf and Hamburg, Germany (AviAlliance); and a minority stake in an airport in Mumbai, India (PSPIB, through an subsidiary)
  • Other associations: A minority stake in Angel Trains in the U.K.

Royal Schiphol Group

  • Who they are: A private Dutch company primarily owned by the Netherlands and associated city governments
  • What they do: Airport management, including flights, shopping, hotels, security and parking. Also invests in real estate, cargo and route development
  • U.S. airport projects: Operations of a terminal at JFK International Airport in New York
  • Current airport holdings: Owns and operates three Dutch airports; a majority stake in a fourth airport in the Netherlands; invests in or provides services to eight additional airports globally

STL Aviation Group

  • Who they are: St. Louis-based consortium
  • What they do: Airport management (Vinci Airport, TBI Airport Management), infrastructure investing and asset management (JLC Infrastructure), investments of private-sector union pension funds in St. Louis and elsewhere (Ullico) and funding (Oaktree Transportation Investment Fund, MJE-Loop Capital Partners)
  • U.S. airport projects: Invested in Puerto Rico’s privatized Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, but sold its stake of the operating company in 2017 (Oaktree parent company); partial management or concessions of five small airports like Middle Georgia Airport (Vinci); helped finance $5 billion LaGuardia terminal project and $2 billion Denver International Airport Great Hall redesign and partial privatization (MJE-Loop Capital Partners, JLC Infrastructure)
  • Current airport holdings: Management or operations of concessions for nearly 50 airports in Asia, the Americas and Europe. A majority stake in London Gatwick Airport as of May 2019 (Vinci)
  • Other things to note: The ongoing $5 billion public-private partnership to renovate LaGuardia’s Terminal B is considered the largest public-private partnership in U.S. aviation history. Denver International Airport ended the Great Hall project before completion, in August, costing the city at least $200 million.

Vantage Airport Group and Corsair-Vantage Investment Partners

  • Who they are: Subsidiary and parent company based in Canada and the U.S. 
  • What they do: Port operations, toll-road management, water and sewer service
  • U.S. airport projects: As part of LaGuardia Gateway Partners, Vantage is leading the redevelopment of a new terminal at the New York airport. They also operate concessions at Midway International Airport in Chicago
  • Current airport holdings: Operates 10 airports, with the majority in the U.S. and Canada (Vantage Airport Group)
  • Other things to note: Previously worked with more than 20 other airports across the world, including Albuquerque International Sunport in New Mexico. The ongoing $5 billion public-private partnership to renovate LaGuardia’s Terminal B is considered the largest public-private partnership in U.S. aviation history

Editor's note: The list has been updated to clarify the companies' involvements in U.S. airport projects. 

Follow Corinne on Twitter: @corinnesusan

Kae Petrin contributed to this report. Follow Kae on Twitter: @kmaepetrin

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