ASUR and Highstar Capital in Milestone Public-Private Partnership that Clears Way for Modernization of Caribbean’s Busiest Airport

February 27, 2013

Cleary Gottlieb represented Aerostar Airport Holdings, LLC, a joint venture of Highstar Capital and Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR), in the 40-year lease to operate the San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin (“SJU”) International Airport as a public-private partnership, approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. The approval paves the way for SJU to become the first major airport in the United States run by a private operator under the FAA’s Pilot Privatization Program, which was signed into law in 1996. Aerostar will now begin to move forward with its plan to invest nearly $1.4 billion over the 40-year life of the lease to transform SJU into a world-class airport gateway. Cleary Gottlieb is also representing Aerostar connection with the financing for the concession.

SJU is the Caribbean’s busiest airport, handling more than 8.4 million passengers in fiscal year 2012. Aerostar expects at least 1,500 direct and indirect construction-related jobs to be created through its near-term capital investment program, which will be one of Puerto Rico’s largest construction projects. The transaction will create approximately 2,100 near-term direct jobs, once jobs in landscaping, cleaning and maintenance are included.

ASUR is a Mexican airport operator with concessions to operate, maintain and develop the airports of Cancún, Mérida, Cozumel, Villahermosa, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Huatulco, Tapachula and Minatitlán in the southeast of México.

Highstar Capital is an independently owned and operated private equity firm with an operationally focused, value-added strategy. Based in New York, the firm was founded in 1998. Since 2000, the Highstar Team has managed approximately $7.6 billion on behalf of its managed funds and co-investors, including investments in energy infrastructure, environmental services infrastructure, infrastructure, and transportation infrastructure.