May 10, 2017 / 8:25 AM / 6 months ago

Serbia extends deadline for airport concession

BELGRADE, May 10 (Reuters) - Serbia has made a second extension to a deadline for non-binding bids for a 25-year concession to operate Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla airport , the biggest in the western Balkan region, the Belgrade-based Politika daily reported on Wednesday.

To secure more budget revenue and comply with the terms of a three-year 1.2 billion euro ($1.31 billion) loan deal with the International Monetary Fund, Serbia wants to sell off its remaining state-owned firms.

The government expects the airport deal to be worth around 400 million euros ($426.04 million).

The deadline is now extended until May 30, said the advertisement published in the Politika daily. The original deadline was set for April 13.

“The public body (government and airport management) decided to extend the deadline to allow qualified participants ... sufficient time for preparation of all required documentation,” it said.

In March, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that 27 companies had expressed an interest in bidding.

On April 24, the Beta news agency reported that South Korea’s Incheon airport was interested in bidding for the concession.

The Nikola Tesla airport, located 17 kilometres (10 miles) from Belgrade’s city centre, serviced 4.92 million passengers in 2016, or 3 percent more than a year earlier. Between January and September 2016, it reported a net profit of 2.4 billion Serbian dinars ($21.24 million), a 13 percent increase from 2015.

Under terms of the offer, prospective bidders, companies or consortia, must not have more than a 20 percent stake in another airport within 450 kilometres of Nikola Tesla, with passenger numbers above 1 million in 2016.

$1 = 0.9182 euros $1 = 112.9700 Serbian dinars Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Louise Heavens

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