Brazil offers port assets to Middle East investors

Brazil’s infrastructure ministry is holding discussions with various investors in the Middle East to bolster interest in concession auctions for port authorities that are scheduled to happen sometime before year-end.

Since the beginning of this month, infrastructure minister Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas has been conducting a roadshow with potential backers in Abu Dhabi, including deliberations with sovereign wealth funds to present the port assets that the government is offering.

“The partnership with the private sector is fundamental for transforming the country and that’s why we have the largest program of concessions in the world, without a doubt,” said Freitas, who will attend meetings with Arab investors until Wednesday.

According to a project finance expert at a Brazilian bank, who had a discussion with BNamericas and asked to remain anonymous, the concessions for port authorities is appealing only to a select group of foreign players who have a track record of working in related sectors, such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Singapore ports, especially since only a handful of countries in the world allow private sector firms to operate as port authorities.

“There are a limited number of companies in the world that have the knowhow and a real interest in taking on concessions related to port authorities, so an option for the government is to attract sovereign wealth funds and investment funds for these assets,” Fabrizio Pierdomenico, a port sector specialist at consultancy Agência Porto Consultoria, said in a statement to BNamericas.

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