Willkie Advises the Consortium on the Privatization of the Sofia Airport in Bulgaria

April 19, 2021

Willkie advised the consortium formed and led by Meridiam including Strabag and supported by Munich Airport on the successful bid, signing and closing for the concession of the Sofia Airport in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Willkie advised the consortium formed and led by Meridiam including Strabag and supported by Munich Airport in connection with the successful bid for the concession of the Sofia Airport in the Republic of Bulgaria, the signing of the concession agreement and the successful signing and closing of a limited recourse project financing for the project.

The concession agreement for the project was signed on 22 July 2020 and the finance documents were entered into on 24 December 2020 with financial close occurring on 19 April 2021. In addition to an upfront fee of €337 million, the concessionaire commits to provide €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 10 years to the last 10 years due to the consequences on the traffic of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), UniCredit, Société Générale, Kommunalkredit, UniCredit Bulbank and DSK Bank provided a € 296 million debt package to support the project. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is also set to join the pool of lenders shortly after handover of the Sofia airport which occurred on the financial close.

The Willkie deal team was led by partner Amir Jahanguiri and included partners Jasmin Dettmar, Alessandro Turina, Thierry Laloum and Faustine Viala.