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NEWS Last modified on December 30, 2014

New Kansai International Airport Company shortlists 20 concession bidders

New Kansai International Airport Company has shortlisted 20 bidders for the concession to operate Japan's fifth-busiest airport for 44 years.

They include Australia's Macquarie Capital Group, Singapore's Changi Airports International, and Global Infrastructure Management, which operates Gatwick Airport.

The operating license to privatise New Kansai International will also include the operating rights for the smaller Osaka-Itami Airport nearby, which handles domestic flights in Japan.

Japanese financial services provider Orix and property developer Mitsubishi Estate were also shortlisted.

The concessions is expected to fetch around JPY¥2 trillion ($16.6 billion), New Kansai officials explained back in July, and the company will use the proceeds to repay JPY¥1.2 trillion ($12 billion) of debt to the state.

The auction is part of Japan PM Shinzo Abe's plans to boost private-sector investment in Japan's infrastructure as the nation tries to reduce its debt, and the winner, which is expected to form a consortium, should be known sometime around June after a second round of bidding.

New Kansai International is Japan’s fifth largest airport, and is the main hub that services the heavily populated Kansai region.

The deal will the first airport privatisation deal in Japan, and others are expected to follow and also being sold is the operating rights of Sendai Airport in northern Japan, the nation’s 10th largest.

Bidders for that auction include a consortium of Mitsubishi Estate and ANA, Japan's largest carrier.

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