Kosovo officials claim French investors in the Brezovica ski resort have met a deadline to submit bank guarantees for the project – however, the future of the 410-million-euro scheme still looks unclear.
|Brezovica Ski Resort. Photo: Wikimedia/ Bujar Imer Gashi.|
The French consortium, MDP Consulting and Compagnie des Alpes, on Tuesday submitted the documentation required for the development of Brezovica Ski Resort, Kosovo’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Wednesday.
The deadline for submission of the documents was midnight May, 31.
The most important part of the documents is proof that the consortium has 164 million euros to finance the first stage of the project. So far, initiation of the project has been postponed twice because it was unable to collect the money.
In a vaguely worded press briefing, the trade ministry did not say whether the documents submitted include a guarantee that the funds were collected, as per the terms of the Public Private Partnership, PPP, signed between the government and MDP Consulting and Compagnie des Alpes on November 21, 2014.
The ultimate fate of the 410-million-euro project still looks uncertain.
“Considering the importance of this project for Kosovo’s economy, the Interministerial Managing Committee, IMC, will continue to carefully review the documents submitted. After … the IMC has finalized its dicussion, a decision about the documents… will be communicated to the wider public,” the ministry said.
Government spokesman Faton Abdullahu was also unable to confirm whether the documentation submitted includes a guarantee the 164 million euros were finally secured.
According to trade minister Hykmete Bajrami, the next stage of the process should take another ten days.
The process remains ambiguous, however, following conflicting statements given just before the deadline expired by Bajrami on Tuesday.
On November 21, 2014, the government signed a PPP deal with MDP Consulting and Compagnie des Alpes for a 99-year lease of 3,364 hectares of land in the Brezovica mountains against a payment of 9.9 million euros and a pledge of 410 million euros of investment.
The ambitious project, supported also by the so-called QUINT countries of France, Italy, Germany, the UK and the US, would have been the biggest investment in Kosovo since the war of independence in the late 1990s.
MDP Consulting, headed by Pascal Roux, has enagaged in mountain development since 1986. Compagnie des Alpes was created in 1989 and describes itself as the “leading European player in leisure industry and has operated the biggest ski resorts in the French Alps and Europe’s most distinctive leisure parks.”
Brezovica is one of the largest ski resorts in the Balkans. The deal for its expansion included three stages, each worth 164.3, 152.5 and 92.7 million euros respectively.
This included the expansion of slopes, infrastructure, land development and construction of hotels and would have made Brezovica the premier ski resort in the Balkans.
The French partners missed two deadlines to collect the capital for the first stage of investment. The first was in June 2015, which, according to the contract, could be extended for another six months.
However, the consortium asked the ministry for another extension after missing a second deadline on December 24, 2015.
On December 23, 2015, Bajrami said the government had agreed to another extension, adding that if MDP Consulting and Compagnie des Alpes failed to present evidence of the capital for the first stage by May 31, 2016, the ministry would immediately execute a 500,000 euros bank guarantee and restart the tender process.