Argentine airport owner eyes New York listing

August 10, 2016 9:36 AM EDT

Argentine business magnate Eduardo Eurnekian gestures during an interview in Buenos Aires, January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian - RTX23A5D

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By Eliana Raszewski

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine billionaire Eduardo Eurnekian is eyeing a $1 billion listing in New York of the network of domestic airports his company controls before the end of the year, he told Reuters.

Eurnekian is the 83-year-old founder and president of Corporacion America, a holding company for businesses ranging from infrastructure to technology, and he is ranked by Forbes as Argentina's second-wealthiest person.

His empire includes a controlling stake in Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, which operates 33 airports around the country, including Buenos Aires' main international airport, Ezeiza.

"We want to float in New York because I think that will bring great advantages and capital support," he said at a Reuters Summit event on Argentina this week.

Issuing new shares will require the green light from the Argentine government, which owns a 15 percent stake, he added.

The center-right Mauricio Macri administration reached an agreement with hedge funds suing the country over unpaid debt earlier this year, opening the door to Argentina's gradual reintegration into financial markets.

Early IPOs have included financial firm Grupo Supervielle (NYSE: SUPV) and chocolate and coffee-shop chain Havanna .

In January, Eurnekian told Reuters that, if a deal was struck with the holdout creditors, he was hoping to publicly list four units - the airport business, energy firm Compania General de Combustibles, a microchip-making business, and an agri-industry unit.

Eurnekian declined to comment on his plans for the other businesses, but said he hoped to get the regulatory go ahead to list a merged construction and infrastructure business, called America Real Estate, in Buenos Aires by the end of the year.

Corporacion America, which has income of around $2 billion annually, would also be interested in bidding for potentially lucrative contracts to modernize Argentina's railways, should the government decide to carry out a much-needed infrastructure upgrade, he said.

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski, Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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