Банкеръ Weekly



Eight big international companies have shown interest towards the tender for concessioning the airports in Varna and Bourgas. The term for announcing interest elapsed in the end of last week. The Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications refused to specify the names of the bidders, alluding to article 24 of the regulations with the Concessions Act. The ministry said that 18 companies had purchased tender dossiers, but only 8 confirmed they would take part in the competition. The BANKER weekly, however, managed to get the list of candidates. A curious detail is that the German-Bulgarian consortium between one of the big airport operators in Europe, Hochtief, and Albena AD is among them. The incumbent Deputy Premier and Minister of Economy Lidiya Shouleva was executive director of the Bulgarian company until 2001. There is one more Bulgarian-German consortium among the candidates - between the operator of the airport in Frankfurt, Fraport, and BM Star EOOD. Participation in the bidding has also been confirmed by the consortium between Mohammed Abdulmosim Al-Karafi (the company building the new runway of the Sofia Airport) and Aeroport de Paris, and the Italian structure, uniting Vinci Airports (which manages more than 15 airports round the world) and Vinci Concessions. The other two consortia are between Corporation America and American International Airports, and between the French operator Nice Cote d'Azur and the Polish Gdansk Lech Walesa airport. The independent bidders are the US DUTKO Group and the Danish operator Copenhagen Airports. Under the terms of the tender, by December 3 it will become known who of the candidates will be admitted to the second stage of the competition. In fact, rivalry will be fierce, mostly because the future concessionaire will be managing the airports in both seaside towns. The model for concessioning these airports was worked out by the US consultants Bearing Point under the vigilant supervision of Transport Minister Nikolay Vassilev (the US company uses occupies several rooms in the Transport Ministry). In order to be admitted to the competition the candidates should satisfy several conditions: not less than two of the last ten years they should have been managing at least two airports with more than 5,000,000 and 2,000,000 passengers, respectively. Moreover, at least two of the airports should be in different countries. The candidates are also required to have implemented in the last five years investment projects worth more than EUR100MN. The approved bidders will deposit EUR300,000.The most decisive role in the ranking will be the investment proposal (investment programme, plan for financing it, and assessment of the investment's financial effect on consumers). It will account for 40% of the final evaluation. Another 30% will be formed from the proposal for the concession royalty which should not be lower than 12% of the proceeds. The remaining part will be accounted for by the plans for the social and ecological effect, operating activity and maintenance, safety and security, organisational, managerial and commercial plans. The term for submission of final offers is March 7, 2005. The plans of the Transport Ministry are that the airports in the two Bulgarian seaside towns should be managed by a private investor at the opening of the next summer season.

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