Wolf Theiss, working with Gide Loyrette Nouel as to French law and Norton Rose Fulbright as to German law, has advised the EBRD, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, UniCredit S.p.a., UniCredit Bulbank, UniCredit Bank AG, Societe Generale, Kommunalkredit Austria, and DSK Bank on their provision of a EUR 296 million debt package to support the SOF Connect consortium on its successful bid for the concession of the Sofia Airport. Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Kinstellar, and Bouzeva & Partners advised the borrowers on the deal.
According to Wilkie Farr & Gallagher, the European Investment Bank was also set to join the pool of lenders shortly after handover of the Sofia airport, which occurred on the April 19, 2021 financial close.
SOF Connect was formed and led by Meridiam and includes Strabag, and is supported by Munich Airport. It was awarded the concession of the Sofia Airport in 2020. According to Wilkie, the finance documents were entered into on December 24, 2020, with financial close occurring on April 19, 2021. According to the firm, "in addition to an upfront fee of EUR 337 million, the concessionaire commits to provide EUR 624 million in investments over the concession period, including the construction of a third terminal by 2030. The concessionaire will also start paying annual concession fees starting on the 11th year of the concession period following the Bulgarian government’s decision, as approved by the European Commission’s, of the deferment of the payment of the annual concession fees of the ten years to the last ten years due to the consequences on the traffic of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."
Wolf Theiss's team was led by Vienna-based Partner Marcell Nemeth and Sofia-based Partner Katerina Kraeva and included Vienna-based Partners Claus Schneider and Leopold Hoeher, Sofia-based Partner Anna Rizova, Vienna-based Counsel Zeno Grabmayr, Sofia-based Counsel Oleg Temnikov, Budapest-based Counsel Melinda Pelikan, and Sofia-based Associates Konstantin Altandzhiyski and Ivan Ivanov.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher's team was led by Paris-based Partner Amir Jahanguiri and included Partners Jasmin Dettmar, Alessandro Turina, Thierry Laloum, and Faustine Viala.
Kinstellar's team on the project financing was led by Counsel Svilen Issaev, supported by Associate Denitsa Kuzeva. Counsel Mladen Minev and Sofia Managing Partner Diana Dimova have been co-ordinating the wider Kinstellar team advising Meridiam and SOF Connect throughout the various stages of the process (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on June 15, 2020).
Bouzeva & Partners' team was led by Senior Partner Tania Bouzeva and included Partners Angel Angelov, Evelina Angelova, Tenio Tenev, and Nikolay Daskalov, Senior Associate Alexandra Georgieva, and Associates Kiril Kirilov, Rumyana Ivanova, Slavomir Buyukliev and Damyan Pilkov.