June 26, 2018 / 6:50 PM / 22 days ago

France rescinds Vinci airport contract, to seek bids to manage site

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government said on Tuesday it would end a 2010 contract with construction group Vinci to manage the western airport of Nantes-Atlantique, and was set to launch a fresh tender offer to run the site.

The contract break follows a government decision earlier this year to abandon plans to build another new airport nearby, for which it also had a deal with Vinci.

The transport ministry said in a statement the two contracts were linked and that state legal advisers had ruled out the possibility of simply amending the terms of the deal with Vinci.

It added that discussions were still ongoing over compensating Vinci for the abandoned 580 million euro ($675 million) project, as well as the Nantes-Atlantique contract.

Local newspaper Le Telegramme de Brest, which first reported details of the contract termination, said the state could owe Vinci over 200 million euros for ending the concession contract prematurely.

The government said it would be soliciting bids to manage the existing Nantes-Atlantique airport in time so that scheduled renovations works on the site starting in 2021 can go ahead.

Reporting by Sarah White, editing by David Evans

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