First port privatization in the country becomes a showcase for Tarcísio

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In the first auction for privatization of port management in Brazil, Quadra Capital won this Wednesday (30) a dispute for Codesa (Companhia Docas do Espírito Santo), which operates the ports of Vitória and Barra do Riacho.

The event had a farewell tone for the Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, who leaves office to try to run for the government of São Paulo and took advantage of his speech to take stock of the management and reinforce support for President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), who seeks reelection.

After a long dispute with a consortium led by Vinci Partners, Quadra won with a bid of R$106 million. The winner will still have to pay R$ 326 million for the purchase of Codesa shares and wins a 35-year concession for the two ports operated by the company.

The auction was seen as a test of the market for the privatization of the port of Santos, the largest in the country, which the government intends to carry out later this year. Also this Wednesday, the government holds concession auctions for three port terminals.

The company that wins this Wednesday’s auction will have to invest BRL 335 million and apply another BRL 520 million in maintenance costs during the port concession period.

It was Tarcísio’s last auction at the helm of the ministry. The ceremony had a large number of speakers, as noted by the special secretary of the PPI (Partnership and Investment Program), Martha Seiller. “Today everyone wanted to come here and say a word, but today is a very special day,” she said.

The CEO of EPL (Logistic Planning Company), Arthur Lima, highlighted “the strength of a man who was able to transform the Brazilian infrastructure”. The director general of Antaq (National Waterway Transport Agency), Eduardo Nery, cited the minister’s “resilience”.

The president of BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development), Gustavo Montezano, said that Tarcísio leaves a legacy in Brazilian infrastructure and promised the bank’s support in the minister’s next mission.

“I’ve had many bosses, very good leaders, but I’ve never met someone like that who doesn’t deviate from his purpose. [como Tarcísio]”, said the Secretary of Development, Planning and Partnerships of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Natália Marcassa.

The Bolsonaro government’s concessions program is used by Tarcísio as an asset in his run for the government of São Paulo. In his speech this Wednesday, Tarcísio said that the Bolsonaro government has already held 140 auctions, with contracted investments of R$835 billion.

In a long speech, in which he spoke in an emotional tone of his professional trajectory, Tarcísio defended that the result of the country’s infrastructure concessions was only possible because Bolsonaro kept technical staff in the ministry.

“Deus me abençoou de ter me colocado no caminho do presidente Bolsonaro. Esse cara foi extremamente corajoso e apostou na gente”, disse. “If it were another president elected in 2018, we would have partisan choices for ministries. A guy with my resume would never have that position.”

Among the projects still to be tendered are, in addition to the port of Santos, the sale of 18 airports in Infraero’s latest round —​including Congonhas (SP) and Santos Dumont (RJ) — and the concession of more than 8,000 kilometers of highways.

In the railway sector, the government foresees the renewal of contracts with FCA and MRS and the concession of Ferrogrão, a project still subject to considerable criticism from the market. Altogether, these projects are expected to require R$55 billion in private capital.

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