Kinstellar has advised a consortium led by French infrastructure fund Meridiam on its winning bid for the 35-year concession to manage the Sofia Airport.
Four other bidders, including a consortium led by France’s Aeroports de Paris, which offered the highest concession fee, competed in the tender for the concession. According to Bulgarian Transport Minister Rosen Zheliazkov, a contract with Meridiam and the operator of the Munich Airport should be signed within 15 days, if the choice is not challenged at the Commission for Protection of Competition, which handles public procurement appeals. The losing bidders have ten days to lodge an appeal.
According to various reports, the EUR 24.5 million bid by Meridiam and Munich Airport ranked third, but its plan, which included, first, repairing the two existing airport terminals and raising passenger numbers to 8.8 million by 2022, second, building a third terminal and growing passenger numbers to 12.3 million by 2030, and third, two additional expansions of the new terminal, which would increase passenger traffic to 14.5 million by 2035 and 18 million by 2040, pushed it across. In 2017, Sofia Airport handled 6.5 million passengers, according to Transport Ministry figures.
Kinstellar reports that it advised Meridiam on all Bulgarian aspects of its bid for the concession, including conducting an "in-depth legal due diligence of Sofia Airport, a review and analysis of the draft concession agreement, and [providing] full-fledged procurement support." The firm's team was coordinated by Partner Diana Dimova and Managing Associate Mladen Minev and included Partner Antonia Mavrova, Counsel Svilen Issaev, Of Counsel Dessislava Fessenko, Managing Associate Nina Tsifudina, and Associates Kristina Lyubenova, Denitsa Kuzeva, Vanya Evtimova, Simeon Vachev, Kamen Chanov, Georgi Georgiev and Petar Popov.
Dimova was one of several experts who spoke to CEE Legal Matters magazine about the significance of the concession to Bulgaria's economic prospects in a longer article this past spring.