UPDATE 1-Brazil sets minimum bid for airport auction

* Total required investments reach 18 billion reais (Adds estimated return, Infraero stake)BRASILIA, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Operators interested in running Brazil’s largest airport will be required to make a minimum bid of $1.3 billion, Brazil’s aviation authority said on Thursday.Brazil, which has seen double-digit annual growth in air traffic, is planning to expand and modernize its main airports ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.Bidding for the rights to build and operate three airport terminals is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 22, although authorities say the date depends on rulings by government watchdogs.Investors have been closely watching the bidding amid broader uncertainty over Brazil’s investment climate. A heavy government hand in several industries has raised concern with some private investors.Earlier this year the government said that Infraero, the state-owned company that currently runs most airports, will maintain a veto right on strategic decisions in the joint-ventures it will form with winning bidders. Infraero will hold a 49 percent stake in these joint ventures.The winning bidder for Guarulhos, Sao Paulo’s main international airport, will be charged 10 percent of gross revenue over a 20-year contract. In addition to airport fees, the operator will earn 804 million reais in revenues by 2032, compared with an estimated 373 million reais in 2012, Secretary of Civil Aviation Wagner Bittencourt said.The estimated return on investment for each of the projects is 6.46 percent, according to Bittencourt’s office.Required investments at Guarulhos total 5.2 billion reais.Brazil will also auction off concessions at Viracopos airport, in Sao Paulo state, as well as at the airport in the capital, Brasilia.Bidders for Viracopos, which requires investments of 9.9 billion reais, will have to offer at least 521 million reais and will pay 5 percent of gross revenues over a 30-year contract.

UPDATE 1-Brazil urgently needs fighter jets- Amorim

PARIS Oct 18 (Reuters) - Brazil urgently needs to buy new fighter jets and has not ruled out replacing its fleet of Mirage 2000 jet fighters next year, but will monitor the global financial situation before making a decision, Defence Minister Celso Amorim said on Tuesday.“There is an urgent need (to renew the fleet),” Amorim told reporters after meeting his French counterpart Gerard Longuet.“The main consideration when it comes to making the decision will be financial and economic,” he said.France’s Dassault Aviation-built Rafale, U.S.-based Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Swedish Saab Gripen NG have long been vying for the estimated $4-7 billion contract to renew Brazil’s dilapidated fleet of air force jets.The French government had come close to sealing a deal with Brazil early this year, with Dassault promising to transfer technology for the new jet in a bid to get an edge over the competition.But the Brazilian government announced recently it would delay its decision until at least 2012 due to the escalating economic crisis.Amorim said on Tuesday he did not rule out a final decision in 2012, but stressed that for the time being Brazil needed to be careful and see how the economic environment panned out.“We don’t know for certain what the consequences of the global financial crisis will be for Brazil so we have to be prudent, without forgetting our defence needs,” he told reporters.Dassault has still not found a foreign buyer for its multi-role Rafale, billed to be one of the most effective fighter jets in the world, but also one of the most expensive.The aircraft has received a great deal more interest since it was deployed in the NATO mission in Libya this year, its first ever combat operation.French President Nicolas Sarkozy discussed the Rafale with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at a United Nations general assembly last month and French officials said Brazil had indicated it favoured the Dassault jet.Amorim is scheduled to meet Sarkozy on Wednesday, along with Foreign Minister Alain Juppe who has been put in charge of selling the Rafale to the United Arab Emirates.Defence Minister Longuet said on Monday the estimated $10 billion deal with the UAE for the sale of 60 Rafale jets was in the late stages of discussion and close to being completed.