Corporación America subsidiary ACI Airport Sudamerica (ACI) closed a landmark deal in April 2015, representing the first-ever US dollar-denominated corporate bond to finance infrastructure in Uruguay. ACI’s 6.875% $200m 3032 senior secured guaranteed notes issue is a highlight in the category as it also marks the company’s debut in the international capital markets.

ACI is the controlling shareholder of Puerta del Sur, the concessionaire of the Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay. Carrasco airport is one of the region’s busiest, with the capacity to handle up to 4.5 million passengers a year flying throughout Latin America and to the US and Europe. ACI used the proceeds from the deal to pay back Puerta del Sur’s bank loans, fund its reserve accounts and to lend to Corporación America’s capital expenditure programs.

Given Carrasco airport’s reach across three continents, investors were attracted to the bond sale based on the flows of the airport alone. Prospective bondholders also liked that they were entitled to a termination payment should the airport’s concession contract, due to expire in 2033, be unilaterally revoked by the Uruguayan government.

Jorge Arruda, senior director at Corporación America says the company faced a major challenge when Uruguay’s flag carrier, Pluna, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Despite the bankruptcy, ACI managed to keep Carrasco’s average traffic growth at 6.2% a year, a figure that has been maintained for a decade.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Nomura Securities led the 17-year amortizing bond issuance, which was priced at 97.168% to yield 7.25%. After a marketing effort across New York, Boston, London, Santiago and Los Angeles, the deal attracted a diverse group of fixed-income investors including US and Latin American entities as well as high net worth individuals. LF

Project: Carrasco International Airport, Uruguay

Location: Montevideo, Uruguay

Financing type & size: $200m Senior Secured Bond 

Banks: Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Nomura, BNY Mellon

Law firms: Bergstein, Cuatrecasas, Emmet Marvin & Martin, Guyer & Regules, Mayer Brown, Simpson Thacher, Uria Menéndez

WINNER: ACI Airport SudAmerica