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Panama airport duty-free stores

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

There is still time for companies to bid on the master lease of duty-free stores in Panama’s Tocumen International Airport.

The winner will start operations in January 2018, following the expiration of the existing contract at the end of next year.

Bids will need to be submitted by December, 2016, while Tocumen S.A. – which manages the airport – expects to publish the terms of the offer by August 15.

The contract awards the right to provide services throughout 500,000 square meters of departure lounges and passageways of Tocumen, Latin America’s tenth-busiest terminal, with over 13 million passengers last year, according to Airports Council International.

Four companies have to date expressed interest in bidding for the contract, according to airport management, including three foreign-based firms - Dufry, Heinemann, and Duty Free Americas – as well as Panama-based Motta Internacional,.

Among potential foreign bidders, two are publicly-traded, including Dufry AG, a Swiss-based, American-owned travel retailer, which as of last year had 2,200 operations in airports, cruise lines, seaports and railway stations in 63 countries.

A subsidiary of Advent International, Dufry had 2015 revenues of the equivalent of $6.5 billion.

The other publicly-traded firm is Germany’s Gebr. Heinemann, which operates some 300 duty-free and travel shops in 78 airports in 28 countries.

In 2015, Heinemann had around 40 million customers, generating revenue of the equivalent of close to $4 billion.

Pivately-held Duty Free Americas has operations in China, Israel, and several airports in the United States.

In Latin America, the company has stores in Belize, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republica, El Salvador and Uruguay.

Panama´s Motta Internacional SA for its part is one of Tocumen’s two current duty-free operators, through its Attenza division, together with Waked Internacional SA.

Attenza has 26 operations in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela, along with Panama.

Members of the Motta family are major shareholders of Motta Internacional, as well of Tocumen-based Copa Airlines.

Waked Internacional is not likely to bid on a new contract, following an indictment last May by the United States Treasury Department of two its principal shareholders – Abdul Waked and Nidal Waked – for alleged narcotics trafficking and money laundering.

The existing duty-free contract was awarded jointly to Motta Internacional and Waked Internacional in 2007.