Sept 17 - Colombia's $40 trillion COP infrastructure concessions, scheduled to be announced Sept. 19, set the stage to increase the country's economic growth potential if they are designed to attract institutional capital, according to Fitch Ratings. 'The government has to connect the dots. Supportive legal framework, well-designed concession contracts and auction processes, and financing that addresses risks and mitigants have to be aligned in a way that matches the demand with sophisticated capital,' said Maria Paula Moreno, Director of Global Infrastructure Group at Fitch. Fitch expects the concessions to be supported by Law No. 1508 of 2012 (PPP), the Colombian public private partnership law passed in January 2012, which is designed to draw the required capital and experience. PPP broadens the scope of qualifying projects and adds new elements meant to provide greater project assurance including availability payments, financial equilibrium assertion, enforceability of security interests, and outstanding payment security for lenders. Increased investment in Colombia's transport infrastructure could reinforce the country's positive investment cycle and enhance economic growth over the medium term. That higher growth trajectory could benefit fiscal accounts and reduce the gap between Colombia and 'BBB' Fitch rated sovereigns in terms of per capita GDP. Modern infrastructure could enable Colombia to take full advantage of its improving global trade relations, which could translate into higher growth and momentum for exports, especially those in non-commodity sectors. Colombia's exports have room for growth because the country's economy is relatively closed in comparison to 'BBB' peers. Concession contracts should establish a clear compensation framework that aligns interests. Considering the long-term, complicated nature of these transactions, sponsors' compensation should not be entirely dependent on service levels in order to avoid the perverse incentive to abandon projects falling short of requirements in order to collect termination fees. For more information, a special report titled 'Colombia's Infrastructure: Connecting the Dots' is available on the Fitch Ratings web site at www.fitchratings.com. Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: 'Colombia's Infrastructure: Connecting the Dots'