Spanish version

TRANSPORTATION

Tocumen seeks to end relationship with Grupo Wisa

It is one of the biggest generators of revenue for the airport.

Spanish version

Temas:

Tocumen S.A., which operates Tocumen International Airport, is seeking to end its relationship with Grupo Wisa, one of its main clients, that has been accused by the United States of money laundering.

But Tocumen officials also noted that they have to comply with its contractual obligations, and noted that it cannot simply terminate the contracts due to a lack of charges in the matter.

But the situation has already had an impact on the airport's finances. It had to delay a bond issue, which was scheduled for Tuesday, until today. That delay was caused by the inclusion of companies related to the Waked family, including Grupo Wisa, on the Clinton List by U.S. authorities. Inclusion on that list prevents any U.S. citizen or company, including banks, from dealing with the Wisa Group.

Tocumen had planned to issue bonds worth $625 million to finance the construction of a new terminal. It was postponed after the initial buyer, Citigroup Global Markets, backed out due to problems with the conditions of the sale. 

According to sources, the new bond issue will be for less money, $570 million, with a higher rate of interest.

Tocumen officials clarified that the airport has not been implicated in any wrongdoing by U.S. officials. It has also removed José Frade, a representative of Grupo Wisa, from its board of directors.

Grupo Wisa is one of the main customers of Tocumen, generating 7.7 percent of its revenue. It obtained a concession in 2007 to operate duty-free shops in the airport.

Many on the concessions expire next year.

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