Bulgaria picks China’s HNA Group for Plovdiv Airport concession

Bulgaria’s government said on March 28 that it has chosen a consortium that includes a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group for the 35-year concession on Plovdiv Airport.

The concession tender, called in January 2017, was suspended in July last year, when a disqualified bidder lodged a court appeal against the decision. Following a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court earlier this month to dismiss the complaint, the tender was resumed.

Bulgaria’s Transport Ministry has two months to sign the concession contract with the winning bidder, the Cabinet said in statement.

The consortium, which also includes Dutch-registered Plovdiv Airport Invest BV, will have to invest at least 79.1 million euro over a period of five years in the Plovdiv Airport. The figure includes repairs, rehabilitation and maintenance of existing infrastructure and new construction.

Bulgaria will charge no fee over the first four years of the concession. After that grace period, the consortium will pay a fixed 600 000 leva fee, as well as six per cent of net revenues from airport operations for each calendar year.

HNA Group has an estimated $145 billion in assets ranging from aviation (including controlling stakes in Hainan Airlines and 12 other carriers in China and Hong Kong), airport management services, tourism and the financial sector, but has been recently experiencing a liquidity crunch following an acquisition spree that increased its debt levels.

(Plovdiv Airport photo: podtepeto.com)



The Sofia Globe staff

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