Bulgaria picks French-German consortium as Sofia Airport concessionaire

Bulgaria picks French-German consortium as Sofia Airport concessionaire
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia July 17, 2019

Bulgaria has selected SofConnect - a consortium between French-registered Meridiam Eastern European Investments and the Munich Airport operator - as concessionaire of Sofia Airport, Investor.bg reported on July 17.

The news was not expected as in May the transport ministry announced that another bidder - a consortium comprising France's Aeroports de Paris and Turkey's TAV - had offered the highest concession fee. However, the SofConnect consortium gained the highest score during the assessment procedure, getting 86.12 out of 100 points.

The consortium has offered to pay a concession fee of €24.5mn per year and invest €608mn.

The winner will run Sofia Airport  for 35 years and will build a third terminal up to 10 years after the signing of the contract, Investor.bg reported, quoting Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov.

A tender for a 35-year concession was launched in 2016, but in April 2017 it was cancelled by the then caretaker government, which said that the concession would raise airport charges and lead to a decline in passenger traffic.

Bulgaria extended the deadline for placing offers for the concession to operate Bulgaria’s Sofia airport six times after calling the latest tender.

In March 2018, the government awarded a 35-year concession for Plovdiv Airport to a consortium of China’s HNA and Dutch-registered Plovdiv Airport Invest BV. However, the deal was cancelled by the bidder.