November 14, 2018 / 1:08 PM / 6 months ago

Bulgaria postpones deadline for Sofia airport bids to Jan. 29

SOFIA, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Bulgaria has extended the deadline for submitting bids to run Sofia airport for a second time, to Jan. 29, after numerous requests for clarification about the concession contract, a transport ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

The ministry had already pushed the timeline back to Nov. 22 from Oct. 22 originally, but queries over the process have snowballed to over 2,000, requiring more time to address them, the spokesman said.

The centre-right government re-launched the tender in July after the original 35-year-old concession plan was scrapped under an interim government which held office for three months in 2017.

Bulgaria now hopes to make 550 million euros ($620.13 million) from the concession over 35 years, 280 million of which should come in an upfront payment.

It expects the airport, the main air hub for the Balkan country which is now run by the state, to generate revenue of 3.46 billion euros over the whole period.

So far, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), Britain's largest airport operator, has said it plans to bid.

Germany's Fraport and Switzerland's Flughafen Zuerich have said they are following the process, but did not say if they would take part in the tender.

Before the previous tender was scrapped, Turkey's Limak Holding and Russia's VTB Capital showed interest in a joint bid, according to sources.

Turkish airports group TAV, in which French Groupe ADP has a stake, also expressed an interest in the previous tender, Bulgarian media reported.

$1 = 0.8869 euros Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova and Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Jan Harvey

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