The decision by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government to unilaterally change the way airports charge service fees has made a billionaire behind one operator the biggest immediate loser.
(Bloomberg) — The decision by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government to unilaterally change the way airports charge service fees has made a billionaire behind one operator the biggest immediate loser.
Fernando Chico Pardo, the 71-year-old former chief executive of Carlos Slim’s Grupo Financiero Inbursa and founder of private equity firm Promecap, holds a 23.2% stake in Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, which operates the lucrative region that includes tourist hotspots like Cancun.
Chico Pardo’s net worth took a $300 million hit on Thursday from the 17% decline in shares of Asur, as the company is known. Asur and Mexico’s two other publicly traded airport operators flagged a change in the tariff system in regulatory filings late Wednesday. Chico Pardo’s stake in the company is currently worth $1.4 billion.
The businessman didn’t respond to attempts to reach him for comment.
Chico Pardo joins a parade of billionaires whose fortunes and plans have absorbed a blow from Lopez Obrador. Earlier this year, he seized a stretch of railroad line owned by billionaire German Larrea’s Grupo Mexico SAB, sending shares tumbling. He also ordered the cancellation of a partially built airport whose contractors included the construction firm owned by Slim, Latin America’s richest man.
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Reclusive billionaire David Martinez got out of the sector last year, when he sold a 29.99% stake in Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte, or OMA, to French construction company Vinci SAB. Shares in OMA dropped as much as 44% before recovering some losses to close down 26%.
Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico SAB, or GAP, dropped more than 22%. GAP is owned by Mexican companies Pal Aeropuertos, Promotora Aeronautica del Pacifico (PAP) and Spanish airport operator Aena, who collectively hold about 15% of the firm, according to its website.
PAP is owned by GAP chairwoman Laura Diez Barroso Azcarraga along with her husband Carlos Laviada Ocejo. They own an additional stake through Weston Hill Equity Holdings LP, according to regulatory filings. Pal, a special purpose vehicle, is owned by Eduardo Sanchez Navarro Redo and Juan Gallardo Thurlow, filings show.
On Friday, GAP and Asur recovered slightly while OMA continued to decline. Combined, the three companies have lost about 75 billion pesos ($4.1 billion) of market value since the end of trading on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Chico Pardo has been chairman of Asur’s board since 2005 and held the CEO role from 2007 to 2011. He’s previously worked for Salomon Brothers and Standard Chartered Bank, according to a biography from the 2022 annual report.
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The Mexican businessman has a 19.41% stake through CHPAF Holdings SAPI and holds half of the 7.65% stake owned by ITA in the class BB shares at ASUR, according to the report.
The other major shareholder in Asur is Inversiones Productivas Kierke SA which is owned by Alejandro Partido Araujo, according to regulatory filings.
President Lopez Obrador has yet to comment on the alleged changes despite having spoken for hours during his morning press briefings over the past two days.
(Adds details of GAP shareholders in eighth paragraph.)
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