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France's Vinci lands 25-yr Belgrade airport concession

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Belgrade (AFP)

French construction group Vinci Airports has been awarded a 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) 25-year concession to run Belgrade airport, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said Saturday.

"The best offer was that of the French company Vinci ... based on financial, technical and legal criteria," Brnabic told reporters.

"In total, across the 25-year concession, (the deal) will amount to close to 1.5 billion euros in revenue, with finance and investment," Brnabic said after Vinci saw off four rival bids.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic said Vinci offered 501 million euros upfront, plus an additional 732 million euros in investment.

Vucic said the firm would also pay the Serbian state between 4.3 million and 16 millions in annual concessionary fees.

Belgrade has high hopes for the airport, the Balkan region's largest, as it seeks to become a regional hub with national flag carrier Air Serbia, operating in partnership with Etihad Airways, carrying some 50 percent of passengers flying from the venue.

According to Vucic, Vinci is banking on passenger numbers rising from 5.3 million last year to an annual 10 million by 2030 and 15 million by the end of the concession.

The Serbian government, which has an 83 percent stake in the airport, expects profits for 2017 to come in at 29 millions euros from 26 million in 2016.

Vinci Airports, which started out with a 1995 concession in Cambodia, now runs 35 airports handling more than 130 million passengers a year.

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