Odebrecht, Batista-owned IMX win Brazil stadium concession

Rio de Janeiro, May 10 (EFE).- A consortium led by Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht and also made up of billionaire Eike Batista's IMX sports and entertainment unit and U.S.-based AEG has been awarded a concession to operate this metropolis' iconic and newly renovated Maracana soccer stadium, authorities said.

Consorcio Maracana S.A. won the rights to manage the stadium for 35 years starting June 2, when an international soccer friendly between Brazil and England is scheduled to be played, the Rio de Janeiro state government said in a statement.

The concession could be extended for another 35 years.

Odebrecht holds a 90 percent stake in the consortium, while IMX, a unit of Batista's EBX Group, and Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group have 5 percent each.

The consortium won the concession with a bid of 181.5 million reais (some $90.7 million), to be paid in 33 annual installments.

Under the bid specifications, the winning consortium must carry out a series of infrastructure projects with an estimated cost of 594 million reais (some $297 million), including a parking lot, an amusement area and two sports museums.

But a condition requiring the demolition of several nearby buildings, including a school, a running track and two Olympic-sized swimming pools, sparked protests.

The Rio state government has invested nearly 1.12 billion reais (some $560 million) to meet FIFA's requirements for the stadium, which will host seven matches of next year's World Cup, including the final, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The final and two other matches of the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament, to be held in Brazil from June 15-30, also are scheduled to be played at the Maracana.