July 17, 2019 / 1:01 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Bulgaria picks Munich airport consortium to run Sofia airport

(Adds details, background)

SOFIA, July 17 (Reuters) - Bulgaria has picked a consortium comprising asset manager Meridiam and the operator of Munich Airport to run and operate Sofia Airport, the Balkan country’s main air transport hub, the transport minister said on Wednesday.

In a televised statement, Rosen Zhelyazkov said the consortium, named Sof Connect, had won the tender for a 35-year concession for the airport over four other contenders after a special commission at the ministry evaluated their bids.

“The commission has taken into account the credibility and the sustainability of the offered model for the airport’s development that include financial and business models,” Zhelyazkov said.

The consortium, which includes the operator of Germany’s second biggest airport, has offered an annual concession fee of 24.5 million euros ($27.47 million) or 32% of annual revenues. It has also pledged to invest 608 million euros in the airport.

Bulgaria had been looking to secure about 550 million euros from the deal, including fees of 7.7 million euros a year, plus a 280 million euro upfront payment.

It also asked for an investment of 600 million euros to cover the building of a third passenger terminal and other things.

A consortium led by France’s Aeroports de Paris (ADP) , which had offered the highest concession fee and investment of 903 million euros, was ranked second.

Other bidders included Germany’s Fraport, Britain’s largest airport operator, Manchester Airports Group, in a tie-up with China’s construction firm BCEG, and a tie-up between Copenhagen Airports and SSB Sauernwein & Schaefer.

Zhelyazkov said all bidders have been informed about the decision, which can appealed within 10 days before the competition regulator. ($1 = 0.8919 euros) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Jason and Catherine Evans)

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