Eastern Europe Offers Airport Investment Opportunities to Those With Strong Nerves

The Belgrade Airport concession in Serbia, which will be completed by the end of 2018 with Vinci Airports the concessionaire, has offered hope to the Bulgarian government, which put the capital city’s Sofia International Airport back on the market for a EUR3.8 billion 35-year concession. The tender deadline was extended from 22nd October to 23rd November 2018 but it has attracted interest from some of the sector’s biggest players, including Fraport (with the Greek construction conglomerate GEK Terna); India’s GMR Infrastructure (which is positioning for an IPO and shedding some of its Indian interests while still seeking out foreign investments); and Manchester Airports Group.

Source: OAG (Note that growth was 21.8% in 2016 and 30.3% in 2017, reducing to 7.4% in the first five months of 2018)

Investors may be somewhat put off though by the termination of the procedure for a management concession at Plovdiv Krumovo Airport, which serves Bulgaria’s second largest and historic city, following the withdrawal of an offer by China’s HNA Group and a local consortium, Plovdiv Airport Invest.  HNA Group has been tackling an adverse position in its finance divisions and has racked up close to US$100 billion in debts. It has also pulled out of deals in Brazil. HNA was the great hope for many aspiring secondary level airports in Eastern Europe because of its potential to convert them principally for cargo services, owing to the area’s position between Western Europe and West Asia.

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