(Adds Fraport comment)
SOFIA, Sept 12 Bulgaria has extended the
deadline for bids in a tender to run and operate Sofia airport
by a month to Nov. 18 due to increased interest in the process,
Transport Minister Ivailo Moskovski said on Monday.
The government launched the tender to operate the Balkan
country's main airport for 35 years in May, in a process it
expects to bring some 1.2 billion levs ($689 million) into state
"The deadline has been extended by a month following a
request by three companies that are interested in the deal,"
Moskovski told reporters. He did not elaborate.
The extension will also compensate for a temporary halt to
the process following a complaint to the country's competition
watchdog by a consortium that built a runway at one of the
terminals. That complaint was overturned in late June.
In August, Turkish Limak Holding said it was planning to bid
for the airport.
German airport operator Fraport, which has a 60
percent stake in a venture operating Bulgaria's two Black Sea
airports, will look closer at the tender to see if it would be
viable to expand in the country, its spokesman said on Monday.
Prior to launching the tender, Moskovski said operators of
airports in Zurich, Lyon, Dublin and London Heathrow, as well as
firms from Qatar and China, had expressed an interest.
The airport, which was used by more than 4 million
passengers last year, is operated by the state. Moskovski said
he expects a deal can be done by the end of the year.
($1 = 1.7418 leva)
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; additional reporting by
Victoria Bryan in Berlin, editing by David Clarke)