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NEWS Last modified on August 13, 2018

Private investors sought to operate Montenegro's international airports

Montenegro's Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs has taken the first steps towards the implementation of a tender procedure to identify "an experienced private partner" to operate the country's main airports.

It reveals that it is looking for a long-term partner to take over the concession of the gateways that are currently operated by the Airports of Montenegro Joint-Stock Company.

The move to find a new operator for Podgorica and Tivat airports started last week with a public consultation process, as required by Montenegrin law, to receive comments from the public on the proposed deal. 

Once public comments have been gathered (within a 30-day deadline) and addressed, and the project proposal has received all necessary approvals from the competent authorities, the Ministry of Transport intends to conduct a two-stage tender procedure, with the objective to rapidly select a suitable partner.

The scope of the concession includes the upgrade, operation and maintenance of the two existing international airports of Podgorica, the capital city, and Tivat, a popular tourist destination on the Adriatic coast, as well as feasibility studies and concept development for two greenfield airports in Berane and Ulcinj.
Combined, Tivat and Podgorica airports served about two million passengers in 2017, and have experienced strong growth over the past decade based on annual 6% to 7% increases in traffic.

Several "top-class companies" are said to have expressed an interest in participating in the upcoming tender, and financiers and a host of international financial institutions are believed to be interested in the opportunity.

One of the strategic priority of the government is to mobilise private sector financing for the completion of roughly €100 million of investments in necessary upgrade and expansion of the airport facilities.  

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is acting as the lead transaction adviser to the Ministry of Transport.

IFC is assisted by ALG, Gide Loyrette Nouel and Karanovic Nikolic for specialsed technical and legal advice.

The qualification stage is expected to be formally launched in the second half of September.

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