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Court halts Bulgarian coastal airports concession deal

Date: 24.10.2005

A three-member panel of Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) canceled the Council of Ministers decision on the concession agreement between Bulgaria and Copenhagen Airports AS.

On Thursday the court reviewed once again the claims of the outcast bidders, the consortium of Fraport AG and BM Star and the Vinci Concession and Vinci Airports consortium.

The court registered lack of experience of the picked candidate and violations in the tender procedure executed by the tender commission.

SAC ruled that the Cabinet should continue the negotiations for the concession with the other candidates - Fraport AG and BM Star and the Vinci Concession and Vinci Airports consortium. Besides that Bulgaria's Council of Ministers should pay BGN 80,075 to the Vinci Concession and Vinci Airports consortium, which is equal to the taxes they have paid for the legal suit. Another BGN 50 M will be paid to Fraport AG and BM Star.

The SAC members accepted the claims as reasonable, as the Tender Commission has received Copenhagen Airports AS tender documentation after the deadline expired.

The magistrates also ruled that the picked bidder does not meet the top priority in the candidates' assessment - at least 2 years experience in managing at least 2 big airports over the last five years in different countries. The magistrates pointed out that the Tender Commission had wrongfully reviewed the financial parameters presented by the picked bidder.

The court halt was taken following the litigations of the outcast bidders, the consortium of Fraport AG and BM Star and the Vinci Concession and Vinci Airports consortium. They have insisted that it is illegal to allow a preliminary enforcement of an administrative act under appeal, as is in the case with the concession agreement.

The court ruling can be appealed within 14 days.

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