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Antitrust office objects to Bratislava airport bid from Vienna

THE SLOVAK Transport Ministry confirmed on November 7 that the antitrust office (PMÚ) sent it a letter this April expressing its objections to the possible takeover of Bratislava Airport by Vienna Airport, due to their geographic proximity, the SITA news agency wrote.

The PMÚ warns that it would be problematic to pick a strategic partner for Bratislava airport that is directly or indirectly, by capital or personally, interconnected with a business entity controlled by Vienna Airport in Schwechat, as it would mean the linking of two very close airports, reads the letter.

The Transport Ministry assured that warnings concerning this concentration were reflected in the privatization projects approved by the government. According to privatization advisor Austrian Meinl Bank, in the case of Vienna airport there is a higher risk than with other bidders. On the other hand, however, there is still a chance that the PMÚ could evaluate Schwechat positively.

Apart from the TwoOne consortium, composed of Vienna airport and Slovak Penta and Austrian bank Raiffeisen Zentralbank, there are four other bidders interested in acquiring 66 percent of Bratislava and Košice airports.

The official shortlist includes a consortium formed by Spanish company Abertis, the British TBI airport operator and the Slovak financial group J&T. Another bidder is a consortium comprised of Independent Slovak Airport Partners (ISAP) uniting German company Köln-Bonn Airport, Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin International, Austrian advisory firm Airport Consulting Vienna and infrastructure fund GalaxyS.

Turkish construction and airport operator firm Tepe Akfen Ventures is also on the shortlist as well as French group Vinci, which teamed up with Austrian firm Away. Bidders must submit their bids by November 21 this year. The winner should be announced by the end of the year.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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