|Vinci interested in Podgorica and Tivat airports|
French concession and construction company Vinci has expressed interest in establishing a partnership with Airports of Montenegro, the state-owned company that runs the country’s two international airports - Podgorica and Tivat. The announcement comes just over a week after the French concession holder expressed interest to invest in Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. During the week, Vinci Chairman, Nicholas Notebaert, met with Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Djukanović in Podgorica. Following the meeting, Mr. Djukanović said, “The partnership will result in a higher frequency of flights to Montenegro, making the country more accessible to tourists and visitors and opening the way for the arrival of new investors”. Talks between officials from Vinci Airports and the Montenegrin government on a possible partnership are set to continue.
On the other hand, Mr. Notebaert noted that by establishing a partnership with Vinci, Montenegro’s airports could offer the highest standard of service in the region. Furthermore, their activities would include a marketing campaign promoting Montenegro to investors, tourists and visitors. Over the years, several companies have expressed inertest in taking over the operator of Podgorica and Tivat airports, including the Turkish conglomerate Limak Holding in 2011. The CEO of Airports of Montenegro, Milovan Djuričković, who has run the company since 1999, recently spoke out against attempts to privatise the two airports. “There can only be three reasons for privatising a company. One is if the management is bad, which in this case it isn’t, the second is if the company is unable to finance further development, which isn’t the case and lastly if the government is strapped for cash. An airport is of strategic importance to a country”, Mr. Djuričković said.
Vinci has been eyeing the former Yugoslav market for some time. In September, it lost out in a bid to buy a 75.5% stake in Slovenia's Ljubljana Airport to German operator Fraport. It offered 96.7 million euros for a 75% stake. Two weeks ago, the company’s Chairman said in Belgrade, “Vinci Airports have an ambition to cooperate on the development of Belgrade Airport and other Serbian airports. We are interested in long-term partnerships”. Vinci runs a total of 23 airports across France, Portugal and Cambodia. It employs over 179.000 people and is the world’s leading construction company by revenue. It profits total almost two billion euros.