The deals were signed yesterday “behind closed doors” and see the Lisbon Metro and Carris bus network sold to Spanish/Mexican transport company Avanza.
With the new owners calling it “one of the largest urban transportation contracts in the European Union”, this was in fact the second privatisation deal of the week.
On Monday, again “behind closed doors”, CP Carga (the cargo arm of Portugal’s rail network) was “sold” to Swiss multinational MSC Rail.
Spanish website La Vanguardia claims the Avanza deal involves a pay-out of €215 million – with the Mexican-based operation promising to invest in the bus network and peg ticket price rises to inflation – and here Económico reported in July that MSC Rail was offering “a global sum of €53 million”.
But yesterday national media paid scant attention to figures – just on consequences for passengers, in the case of the Metro and Carris.
CM stressed the “behind-closed-doors” aspect of the deals – which limited press razzmatazz and only involved a few key ministers.
“The signing of these contracts closes the processes of privatisations of this government which, on other occasions, marked the ceremonies publicly”, it explained.
The government’s privatisations since 2011 have seen electricity networks EDP and REN sold to Chinese buyers, airports authority ANA sold to French operator Vinci and TAP airline sold to the Gateway Consortium under the auspices of Portuguese transport mogul Humberto Pedroso and airline boss David Neeleman.