ECONOMY

Hochtief chosen to upgrade, run Tirana airport

TIRANA (Reuters) – Albania yesterday chose a group led by Germany’s Hochtief to build a new terminal and operate its international airport for 20 years in a deal worth $80.9 million. Hochtief teamed up with German development bank DEG and the Albanian-American Enterprise Fund to bid for the contract, controlling, respectively, 47 percent, 37 percent and 16 percent of the investment. Albania said Hochtief had 60 years of experience in building and managing airports around the world, adding that it was a majority shareholder in the Athens, Dusseldorf and Hamburg airports. The contract includes building a new passenger terminal and a highway to connect the capital, Tirana, to Rinas Airport, officially renamed Mother Teresa Airport. France’s Aeroports de Paris and Turkey’s Tepe Group and Afken were the two other bidders shortlisted. A year ago, Albania agreed to let top US defense contractor Lockheed Martin upgrade and manage control of commercial flights in its air space, aiming to increase profits in the runup to the 2004 Summer Olympics in neighboring Greece.