Five bidders competing for Sofia Airport concessionEuropost , Sofia
Five internationally known investors have submitted bids for the Sofia Airport concession, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) said in a press release. Bids are being checked for compliance with the tender requirements, and the technical and financial offers will be opened in a public ceremony on May 9, 2019. All project documents have been published on the project website, www.concession-sof.bg, and are accessible to the public to ensure transparency and legality of the process.
IFC (a member of the World Bank Group) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provide advice to Bulgaria's Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications to design and tender the Sofia Airport concession in line with the best practices.
"We are witnessing Bulgaria emerge as an attractive investment destination in the region," said Fabrizio Zarcone, World Bank Country Manager for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. "Strong institutions, combined with the implementation of EU regulations, level the playing field, unlocking Bulgaria's economic potential."
"The EBRD is pleased to see that the concession has attracted five international players with extensive experience and strong track record in the sector," said EBRD Director for Bulgaria Larisa Manastirli. "The aim is to choose a solid international operator with the ability to develop the airport to best meet the needs of travellers and the Bulgarian economy. This will be good news and a signal to other investors eyeing to come to Bulgaria."
"Working with our partners, our Sustainable Infrastructure Advisory Facility was set up to help foster bankable PPPs in a competitive environment. This response to the Sofia tender is quite encouraging," said Matthew Jordan Tank, Director for Sustainable Infra Policy and Project Preparation at EBRD in London.
Over the last two decades, there has been a worldwide trend towards private sector management of airports, many leveraging the public-private partnership (PPP) model, including concession contracts. In Europe in 2016, 41 per cent of all airports had private shareholders - a 22 per cent increase since 2010.
"By attracting private sector investment and expertise, airport concessions can deliver significant economic benefits for countries by stimulating tourism growth, improving cargo handling, upgrading the quality of service for passengers, and reducing the fiscal burden on governments," said Georgi Petrov, IFC PPP Transaction Advisory Manager for Europe and Central Asia.
The Government of Bulgaria intends to achieve similar outcomes for the country through a concession for the Sofia Airport. Under the concession, all airport infrastructure and assets remain publicly owned; the private partner will be granted the rights to operate the airport for the duration of the contract.
On July 5, 2018 the Bulgarian government launched an open competitive bidding procedure to select a concessionaire for Sofia Airport. A concession notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on the same date. The private partner who offers the highest share of gross annual revenues and proposes the best sustainable airport development plan, in addition to paying a fixed upfront fee of BGN 550m will be selected.