China company buys Albanian airport
China Everbright Group said it has acquired all the shares of Albanian airport operator for an undisclosed sum, saying the deal was part of China’s push to build trade links with Europe. Reuters reported the deal is the first major investment by a Chinese company in NATA-member Albania. China has been encouraging companies to invest overseas under its “One Belt, One Road” programme. The acquisition of was in line with One Belt, One Road, Chen Shuang, the CEO of China Everbright said. “With CEL’s support and resources, TIA can further upgrade their facilities and hardware meeting excellence in all aspects,” he said in a joint statement with Tirana International Airport (TIA). TIA operates the main international Rinas airport, where passenger numbers have risen to 1.9 million in 2016 from 600,000 in 2005. TIA says it has invested 70 million euros (US$78.14 million) since 2005 to develop and expand the airport. TIA officials said no sale figure was available, but previous reports said the Chinese group had paid US$90 million to operate the airport until 2027.