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Sofia Airport is the focal point of international investment in Bulgaria, Source: Sofia Airport on Facebook

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development gained an equity stake in Sofia Airport

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development gained an equity stake in Sofia Airport

The move is part of the airport concessionaire’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2036

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) threw their support behind a development project for Sofia Airport with an indirect equity investment in SOF Connect – the company operating and managing the facility.

The announcement arrived today, with the EBRD’s investment totalling about 74 million euros, a 58 million equity investment and 16.3 million contingent equity exposure.

Bulgaria’s airport – the centrepiece of economic development

Sofia International Airport is among the busiest airports in the Balkans and one of the largest in Central and Eastern Europe, with passenger numbers reaching 7.1 million in 2019. It is Bulgaria’s main international airport and a focal point for economic development.

The arrival of a leading private-sector operator, SOF Connect, is expected to boost the airport’s competitiveness and improve service standards while contributing to growth in the long term, both for the airport and Bulgaria’s capital - Sofia.

SOF Connect, which started operating in April 2021 is a joint venture between Meridiam, Munich airport and Austrian construction company Strabag. Meridiam is a Paris-based investment and asset manager, specialised in managing long-term public infrastructure projects.

SOF Connect has committed to a significant investment plan for the airport, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2036 and the construction of a third terminal in the next 3 to 10 years.  

The company announced that it would receive 240 million euros of investments and loans from financial institutions to achieve its ambitious goals for the airport in the 35 years – the length of the concession contract between them and the Bulgarian government.

In mid-July, they received 40 million euros from the European Investment Bank for environmentally efficient upgrades to the infrastructure and an additional 73 million euros from the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank.

Anca Ioana Ionescu, EBRD Director for Bulgaria, was quoted in a press release, as saying that this was a landmark investment for the EBRD. She welcomed the market-based solution to the airport’s green transition and commitment to sustainable development.

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