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Peruvian government upholds sale of Aeroperu to Aeromexico consortium

LIMA, Peru -- A Peruvian government official said Wednesday that authorities have confirmed the sale of state-owned airline Aeroperu to a consortium headed by the Mexican carrier Aeromexico.

The Aeromexico group won the right to purchase 70 percent of Aeroperu earlier this month by bidding $54 million at an auction, but a losing bidder challenged the results.

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However, Economy and Finance Minister Jorge Camet told reporters the sale was a 'closed case,' and that the committee in charge of the privatizing Aeroperu had reaffirmed the Aeromexico group as the winning bidder.

Under the deal, Aeromexico will own 47 percent of Aeroperu stock, while the Peruvian company Serminco will acquire 21 percent and Mrs. Zapata de Papini, a private Peruvian citizen and wife of one Aeromexico's directors, will buy 2 percent. The government will retain 20 percent, while offering 10 percent to Aeroperu's workers.

Analysts said the sale would strengthen Aeromexico, which has about 48 percent of the Mexican market, by opening up new routes to South America and Europe controlled by Aeroperu.

Aeromexico, privatized four years ago and now considered a highly efficient carrier, is also holding talks with the once-dominate Mexican airline Mexicana on some type of consolidation of operations, a spokeswoman for Aeromexico said Wednesday.

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