Merged Italian transport groups Atlantia, Gemina to bid for Brazilian airports

The new group formed from the merger of Italian motorway group Atlantia SpA (BIT:ATL) and airport operator Gemina SpA (BIT:GEM) will consider making bids for Brazilian airports in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, Atlantia’s CEO Giovanni Castellucci told a conference call.

The statement was made after the boards of directors of both companies approved earlier a plan to combine their operations via an all-stock deal, in a move to create a global leader in the motorway and airport infrastructure sector.

Speaking at a conference call, Castellucci said that the new entity would continue investing some EUR100m (USD130.2m) to EUR200m a year in its international growth. He also explained that Atlantia had decided to combine its operations with Gemina mainly because the move would support the growth of the Rome airport hub of Fiumicino in the medium to long term. Fiumicino is owned by Aeroporti di Roma SpA (ADR), the airport operator of Rome’s airports which is controlled by Gemina.

The tie-up deal is subject to approval by both companies’ shareholders and regulatory clearance, among other conditions, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Spain’s Abertis considers to sell UK airports in move to cut debt

Spanish mobility and telecom infrastructures manager Abertis Infraestructuras SA (MCE:ABE) is considering divesting its UK airports as one of the options under a strategic review aimed at cutting its EUR14.1bn (USD18.6bn) debt, a company spokesman revealed.

Abertis has been in talks with the Welsh government concerning the sale of its Cardiff airport over the past three months and expects to get an offer of around GBP50m (USD75.8m/EUR57.3m) in March. It could also divest Belfast airport and the contract to run the Luton airport.

Abertis has hired Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and AZ Capital SL to advise it on its alternatives related to the sale of non-core assets.

The airports division, which comprises 29 airports worldwide, accounted for 8% of the group’s total revenues of EUR4bn in 2012.

Study looks at dangers of airport secondhand smoke

Average air pollution levels from secondhand smoke directly outside designated smoking areas in airports are five times higher than levels in smoke-free airports, according to a study by the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC said that the study was conducted in five large hub U.S. airports. It also showed that air pollution levels inside designated smoking areas were 23 times higher than levels in smoke-free airports. In the study, designated smoking areas in airports included restaurants, bars, and ventilated smoking rooms.

Five of the 29 largest airports in the United States allow smoking in designated areas that are accessible to the public.

The airports that allow smoking include Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Denver International Airport, and Salt Lake CityInternational Airport. More than 110m passenger boardings–about 15 % of all U.S. air travel–occurred at these five airports last year.

A 2006 Surgeon General’s Report concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Although smoking was banned on all U.S. domestic and international commercial airline flights through a series of federal laws adopted from 1987 to 2000, no federal policy requires airports to be smoke-free.

For an online version of this MMWR report, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr