UPDATE 1-Fraport Greece gets 1 bln euro loan for airports deal

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ATHENS, March 27 (Reuters) - Fraport Greece, a joint venture between German airport operator Fraport and Greece’s Copelouzos Group, has secured a loan of about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to help fund a deal to operate 14 airports, it said on Monday.

Fraport signed an agreement in 2015 to operate airports on Greek tourist islands, including Corfu and Santorini, for 40 years for an upfront fee of 1.23 billion euros. The agreement was part of the country’s third international bailout.

Fraport, which has established an airport management company in Athens, has said it will spend at least 400 million euros on construction to upgrade the airports in the first four years, while total investment will top 1.4 billion euros.

Some 688 million euros of the loan, provided by a consortium of lenders including the European Union, will help Fraport pay the upfront fee while 280.4 million euros will be spent upgrading the airports, Fraport Greece said.

“Modern infrastructure will play a crucial role in supporting Greece’s economic recovery,” EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in a statement.

“This is a prime example of the type of investments the European Commission is committed to support, as they bring growth and development,” he said.

The consortium of lenders includes Alpha Bank, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation.

“The successful financing of this complex project is a clear signal regarding the prospects of the Greek economy,” Fraport Greece Chief Executive Alexander Zinell said.

Fraport is expected to take over the airports later this year. ($1 = 0.9179 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by David Clarke)