Investors line-up for Japan airport privatization

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Investors line-up for Japan airport privatization

Goldman Sachs could be contemplating to penetrate into Japan's infrastructure market through an investment in one of the largest airports in Japan, the New Kansai International Airport. According to the source, Ankur Sahu, co-head of Goldman's Asia-Pacific merchant banking division, said that.

Other foreign names such as US-based Fortress Investment Group and Australian investment bank Macquarie Group are taking stakes in Japan's infrastructure sector.

The government owned airport, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, started its operations in Sep 1994 and now stands as the fifth-busiest airport in Japan.

Goldman is studying the transaction through its GS Infrastructure Partners II fundThe deal is expected to be Japan's biggest private infrastructure project, the rights could fetch up to 600 billion yen (US$5.86 billion). Tokyo is keen for investors to help trim state-owned New Kansai International Airport Co's 1.2 trillion yen debt.

The Japanese government is set to promote more private investments in varied infrastructure projects that include highway, sewage system, solar projects and other public utility facilities.

Daiju Aoki, a senior economist at UBS Securities Japan, stated:

The government has the highest incentive ever to attract private money to invest in public infrastructure because there is a huge list of projects that need to be done, and the government can't afford to finance them all.

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