January 14, 2019 - Dentons has advised VINCI Airports on the 25-year PPP concession in respect of Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport, covering the airport's financing, operation, maintenance, extension and upgrade. The planned upgrades are projected to increase the airport's capacity from 5.3 million passengers per year in 2017 to over 14 million passengers by 2043, when the concession is scheduled to end. Overall, the project is expected to require an estimated capex of around €380 million, on top of the €501 million upfront concession fee paid to the Serbian government.

This is a new stage in VINCI Airports’ international expansion. Belgrade Airport will serve as the company’s hub in Southeastern Europe, a geographical area in which VINCI Airports had not previously operated.

To complete this transaction, VINCI Airports has raised loans amounting to a total of €420 million and maturing over a maximum of 17 years from four multilateral institutions - IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), Agence Française de Développement (via its subsidiary Proparco) and DEG (KfW Group) - and from 6 commercial  banks (UniCredit, Intesa, Erste, Société Générale, Kommunalkredit and CIC). The loans will complement the equity that VINCI Airports is investing in the project.

These financing arrangements constitute a milestone in Belgrade Airport's redevelopment, and the largest PPP transaction ever carried out in Serbia.

“We were delighted to assist VINCI Airports on this landmark transaction,” said partner Ian McGrath, who co-led Dentons’ team along with partners Rob Irving and Jean-Marc Allix. “It also demonstrates our ability to deploy an international, cross-practice team to successfully deliver a strategic investment for the benefit of our client” added Jean-Marc Allix.

A cross-border Dentons team, including partners Rob Irving and Ian McGrath (for projects contracts), Jean-Marc Allix (for the financing) and associates Kamran Pirani and Clément Gerthoffert advised VINCI Airports on the deal. Andric Law Office and Vasiljevic – Bogdanovic Law Office in Serbia also advised VINCI on local law aspects, the respective teams including partner Luka Andric and associates Branka Vesovic and Jovana Stojkov and partner Boris Bogdanovic.

The Republic of Serbia was advised by Orrick, and the lenders were advised by Allen & Overy.