The Bulgarian government has approved the decision of the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications to open a procedure for a concession for Sofia airport.

This is planned to be the largest deal in the history of the country so far. It is supported by both the World Bank and EBRD. The Bulgarian government is committed to completing the procedure following two previous unsuccessful attempts.

Sofia airport is the largest international airport in Bulgaria. In 2017, it serviced 6,490,096 passengers, a 30% growth in traffic from 2016.

The concession will be granted for 35-year term with an overall estimated value of EUR 3.5 billion, excluding VAT.

The annual concession fee will be the greater sum of:

  • the amount offered by the tender, but not less than EUR 7,669,378.22;
  • the amount determined as a percentage of the total revenue from all activities related to the use of the concession site for the respective year proposed within the tender's bid, which cannot be less than 10%.

Under the terms of the tender, which is accessible in English at the following link, the concession winner will be obliged to perform construction work and improvements, including the construction of the new Terminal 3. The new terminal should be open no later than ten years from the starting date of the concession. Within the first five years, the concession should carry out a feasibility study on the construction of a potential new runway. If the outcome of the study is positive, construction of the runway will be considered an option in the updated general plan.

Regarding the chief minimal requirements for participation in the tender, the documentation states that the participants must:

  • have developed (and is currently developing) at least one international airport with more than ten million passengers annually for the period 1 January 2013 to 5 July 2018. In case of a consortium, the latter requirement should be met by the participant designated as the airport operator;
  • have a net worth of at least EUR 200 million (as well as for each of the three previous financial years). If the tender is a consortium, the total net worth of the participants must be at least EUR 300 million (and for each of the three previous financial years);
  • have experience in the financing of infrastructure projects exceeding EUR 400 million in value for the period 1 January 2008 to 5 July 2018.

The deadline for submission of tender applications is 22 October 2018, 13:00 local time.