June 9, 2017 / 8:58 AM / a year ago

Serbia extends deadline for Belgrade airport concession bids

BELGRADE, June 9 (Reuters) - Serbia has extended a deadline for bids for a 25-year concession to operate Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla airport, the biggest in the western Balkan region.

The government, which needs to raise revenues and wants to sell remaining state-owned firms under a three-year loan deal with the International Monetary Fund, expects the deal to be worth around 400 million euros ($448 million).

In an official notice published in the Friday edition of the Politika newspaper, Belgrade said the deadline had been extended to June 21. The initial deadline was for March 10, but this was then extended to May 30.

“The public body (government and airport management) decided to extend the deadline to allow qualified participants ... to provide proof of fulfilment of all requirements,” it said.

In March, the then-Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that 27 companies had expressed an interest in bidding. On April 24, the Beta news agency reported that South Korea’s Incheon airport was interested in bidding for the concession.

The Serbian government has an 83.1 percent stake in the airport whose net profit increased by 21 percent in the first four months of 2017 to 831.7 million dinars ($7.6 million).

Under terms of the offer, prospective bidders must not have more than a 20 percent stake in another airport within 450 kilometres of Nikola Tesla, which had passenger numbers of more than 1 million in 2016. ($1 = 0.8932 euros) (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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