|TAV tipped to announce Belgrade plans next month|
Turkey's TAV Airports Holding is in talks over plans to invest in Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. According to sources close to the Turkish company, the airport operator is considering commiting to projects in Manila, in the Philippines, and Belgrade in February. While bid documents have not been released, Serbia’s government said in an International Monetary Organisation filing in December that it has hired advisers to develop long-term management contracts for the airport. The Serbian Economy Ministry’s press office declined to comment on the matter. TAV, whose biggest owner is Aeroports de Paris with a 38% stake, is looking at committing to two airport deals coming up for bid next month, sources close to the company said. While TAV may seek operational rights, it may also opt for an asset acquisition, one of the sources told "Bloomberg".
TAV runs Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and a further thirteen airports across the world, including those in neighbouring Macedonia and Croatia. TAV also offers duty free retail, information technology and ground handling at about seventy airports in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the United States. Last week, TAV's founder and CEO, Sani Sener, confirmed that the company is chasing-up two investment opportunities. TAV's potential investment in Belgrade Airport is believed to have been discussed in late December during the Turkish Prime Minister's official two-day visit to Serbia. PM Davotoglu was accompanied by five cabinet ministers and more than 100 Turkish businessmen with the aim of furthering economic relations between Turkey and Serbia. Among those present were the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister, Economy Minister and Heath Minister.
In September last year, the Serbian government said it would resume plans to privatise its busiest airport at the end of 2015 or in early 2016. The state holds an 83.2% stake in the airport, which has 1.806 employees. The French concession and construction company Vinci has previously shown interest in vying for a concession of Belgrade Airport. On the other hand, in the summer of 2014, two companies from the United Arab Emirates, one of which is Arabtec Holding, the Persian Gulf’s largest construction company, also expressed interest in taking part in a potential concession. However, it is believed that awarding control of the country’s main airport to a company from the Middle East, in addition to Etihad Airways’ part-ownership of Serbia’s national carrier, would not be looked upon favourably by the European Union, which Serbia is aspiring to join. Belgrade Airport handled a record 4.78 million passengers in 2015 with a projected net profit of twenty million euros.