Vinci Airports Serbia d.o.o. Beograd paid the one-off concession fee of EUR 501 million on Friday, December 21, in line with the Concession Agreement, and became the operator of the Nikola Tesla Airport for a period of 25 years on Saturday, December 22, the Government of Serbia announced. The press release says that the Republic of Serbia remains the owner of the airport, and that Vinci obliges to pay the concession fee each year for the duration of the concession and to make investments in the airport structure according to the schedule defined in the Concession Agreement.
The total value of the transaction is EUR 1.46 billion and, as the press release says, is the first concession “of such great value to be carried out in Serbia”
At the government’s session, it was determined that Vinci Belgrade and its parent company, Vinci Airports S.A.S, had met all the requirements from the Concession Agreement pertaining to financing, development through construction and reconstruction, maintenance and management of the infrastructure of the Nikola Tesla Airport and the execution of the operator’s duties. The agreement was signed on March 22, 2018
The projects announced for the first five years are the reconstruction of the main runway, the construction of another runway, the construction of new taxiways and the reconstruction of the existing ones, the construction of rapid exit taxiways, the reconfiguration of the terminal, the construction of new facilities and the upgrade of the systems.
It was also announced that Vinci planned to make the Nikola Tesla Airport a regional hub and to have the number of passengers increase threefold during the concession.
Vinci Airports announced that, to complete this transaction, it had raised loans amounting to a total of EUR 420 million and maturing over a maximum of 17 years from 4 multilateral institutions – IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), Agence Française de Développement (via its subsidiary Proparco) and DEG (KfW Group) – and from 6 merchant banks (UniCredit, Intesa, Erste, Société Générale, Kommunalkredit and CIC).
The loans will complement the equity that Vinci Airports is investing in the operation and cover the EUR 501 million upfront concession fee paid to the granting authority as well as the airport extension and upgrade works provided in the contract.
The EBRD announced that Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport will be transformed into a modern transport hub serving Serbia and the region thanks to a massive investment program to which the EBRD is contributing a loan of up to EUR 72 million for its own account and arranging a syndicated loan of EUR 110 million for the account of participants.
– The EBRD financing will be part of a wider package including the World Bank sister organization IFC, the French development agency Proparco, Germany’s equivalent DEG and the commercial lenders Banca IMI, Unicredit, Erste Group, Kommunalkredit, CIC and Société Générale.
Sue Barrett, EBRD Director, Head of Transport, said that “the competitive, transparent and sound process which is at the heart of this project will also be the foundation of its success”, whereas Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD Director, Regional Head of Western Balkans, added that “we are proud, as a long-standing promoter of PPP structures mobilizing private sector investments and financing for infrastructure, to provide our financing as part of our wide-reaching range of investments in the country”.
The national airliner Air Serbia welcomed the new concessionaire and thanked the team that had run the airport until that point, headed by Sasa Vlaisavljevic.
Vinci is a global operator that is active is 12 countries, Serbia included. It runs 45 airports and employs 12,000 people. The company had 180 million passengers and an income of EUR 1.4 billion at its airports in 2017.
In January 2018, Vinci was selected to be the concessionaire through a public tender, whereby it obliged to invest in the modernization of the airport. The investments will entail the renovation of passenger terminals, the expansion of capacities and the upgrade of services and facilities, as well as the improvement of environmental standards.