Chinese consortium reportedly abandoned plans for Plovdiv airport

The consortium led by the Chinese group HNA which won the 35-year concession contract for Plovdiv Airport in Bulgaria will not sign the contract, daily Maritsa reported quoting unofficial sources. The deadline for the signing of the contract expires on July 18.

The Chinese investor apparently lost interest in the deal after the sudden death of the president of the corporation Wang Jian, who died three weeks ago in an accident in France. Separately, the group has accumulated huge debts over the past years and cut its investment programme around the world.

In March this year, the government awarded a 35-year concession for Plovdiv Airport to a consortium of HNA and Dutch-registered Plovdiv Airport Invest BV. The consortium pledged to invest at least €79.1mn within five years after the concession deal was signed, including on repairs, rehabilitation and maintenance of existing infrastructure and new construction.

The consortium has not notified the ministry of transport of any intention of meeting government officials and signing the contract, the daily reported. The government is expected to invite the second-ranked candidate for discussions. But a final decision should be formally taken on July 18 at the expiry of the deadline.

Under the ministry’s procedures, after the dropout of the first-placed candidate the authorities should invite the second-ranked candidate. In this case, this is the consortium formed by the major cargo and freight company PIMK and Trakia Economic Zone (one of the biggest economic projects in Bulgaria). PIMK recently won the concession for the intermodal terminal near Plovdiv.

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