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Minister Rossen Jeliazkov: For the concessionaire of Sofia Airport is selected Sof Connect Consortium, with Munich Airport operator

17.07.2019

Statement by the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Rossen Jeliazkov on the selected concessionaire of Sofia Airport:

"The notification, along with the Protocol and the Decision on the selection of a concessionaire of Sofia Airport, was sent to the participants in the procedure.

The procedure for Sofia Airport was opened by Decision of the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications of 02.07.2018. During the course of the procedure, 3300 questions were sent and answered.

In the process, from beginning to end, we have been assisted, both in preparation as well as with pieces of advice, by the World Bank, in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and by the World Bank division - the International Finance Corporation.

Tenders in the procedure were submitted by five participants, each of them with considerable experience and the required professional reputation. In an open session, in the presence of candidates and the media, which was broadcasted online, the binding proposals of the candidates were opened:

• Vitosha Consortium with Manchester Airport Group Operator;

• Sof Connect Consortium with Munich Airport operator;

• SSB Consortium JV with Copenhagen Airport Operator;

• Fraport Bulgaria EAD;

• Consortium between Aéroports de Paris S.A. and TAV Havalimanlar Holding.

All participants on May 9 were admitted. For 90 days, the tender evaluation committee examined and discussed the tender bids of the participants.

Further clarifications were requested in the process and the five participants gave clarifications on the issues raised.

I thank first of all the participants for believing in the investment environment, they believed in the intentions of the government, which had put on its concession program Sofia Airport Concession for the development of the airport infrastructure and the provision of a quality service in the coming years. Because you believed in all the conditions for making an objective judgment between the potential participants and the actual participants, stressing once again that all five candidates were admitted in the procedure.

I would also like to thank the World Bank, the IFC and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the fact that from the beginning of the procedure to the present time they have been giving the necessary professional assistance. It is important to clarify that this assistance was not related to the autonomy of the Commission's decision but was to provide the necessary professional support to the high standards that the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and IFC have in relation to similar procedures for assessing and understanding the relevant components in the technical part.

On the basis of the evaluation of the admissible tenders, the Commission has adopted a reasoned decision, which it has presented to my attention. The motivated proposal of the commission and the draft decision to the concession grantor, in this case the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, is the basis for a decision. Unless the Grantor finds any reason to return the decision to re-examine the Committee, or to terminate the procedure. The reason for this can be unlawfulness found and open deficiencies or omissions. No such reason was found, so the commission's choice was approved and I have today selected a concessionaire for "Civil airport for public use Sofia", public state owned by a private person, Sof Connect Consortium, with Munich Airport operator. He is ranked first with 86.12 points.

The participant of the Consortium between Aéroports de Paris S.A. and TAV Havalimanlar Holding is ranked second with 80,31 points. Third place is for the participant Fraport Bulgaria with 80.19 points. Fourth place is for the participant Vitosha Consortium with 78.42 points. And fifth participant is the SSB Consortium JV with 66.15 points.

On this basis, the Commission has proposed that Sof Connect Consortium firstly-rated participant with the Munich Airport operator be designated as a concessionaire. It is important to note that all five offers are extremely good. Whichever of the five participants were ranked first, Sofia Airport would have a high prospect of development in the coming years.

Three of the participants received a maximum of 100 points on their technical proposal. These are the Sof Connect Consortium, Fraport Bulgaria and Vitosha Consortium.

In the evaluation, as in the documentation for participation and the individual point distributions in the components of the technical proposal, the commission took into account the feasibility, credibility and sustainability of the proposed development model. The components of this model are a general airport development plan, a business plan for airport development, a financial plan for airport development, a strategy for airport development, and the respective projections for the duration of the concession.

The participants have already been notified of this Decision, each of which has been provided electronically with a copy of the Decision and a Protocol of the committee's work on the procedure.

The contract may be concluded in accordance with the deadline provided in the documentation for participation after the expiration of a 15-day period from today. An appeal before the Commission for Protection of Competition, which may take place within 10 days of the announcement of the decision, will be disputed before the CPC, which will continue the dispute before the Supreme Administrative Court, which will take its final decision within one month from the receipt of the CPC decision. That is, even if we have a contestation to the decision, the contestation procedure will be developed within short deadlines.

Once again, I would like to emphasize that the offers were extremely strong and contested. The technical part was essential in determining the final total amount of points determining the ranking of the candidates. Considerable elements are taken into account, not only with the financial revenues that will be guaranteed by the concession but also with the development of the airport as the main passenger flow gate, airport operators, air operators, tourists to the city of Sofia and for the development of the city , as well as the economy of Bulgaria. On the other hand, as an intangible asset, we can determine the skill we already have, to convince investors on a global scale about the improved and good investment environment in Bulgaria. That is why we manage, in partnership with leading financial institutions, transparent, competitive and guaranteeing sustainability procedures.

The concession is a public-private partnership. In the selection of the concession, not only parameters related to financial measures are taken into consideration, but also the concession always seeks the best partner. It is a contract for cooperation between the state and the management that will manage the public asset of the state and that will develop the public asset of the state and will provide on behalf of the state and on its own behalf a really serious service that has a horizon beyond the asset itself.

The role of the state will remain not only as a party to the deal but will be in the public infrastructure in view of our strategic and national interests. The state will be present at Sofia Airport and as regulation related to airport charges, border protection, border police, and all its customs, veterinary and other structures. The role of the concessionaire will be in the development of the airport as an asset and will be linked to the improvement of the service by investing in the infrastructure that will continue to be publicly owned by the state.

I hope soon to have a participant with a contract in force. "

Minister Rosen Zhelyazkov today announced his decision to choose a concessionaire of Sofia Airport in front of the MPs from the Committee on Transport, Information Technology and Communications at the National Assembly.