Development Bank Might Halt Siem Reap Airport Loan

The Asian Development Bank may freeze part of a $15 million loan to upgrade the Siem Reap airport because of a new airport management deal between the government and a French company, a bank official said.

Cabinet Minister Sok An and Societe Concessionnaire l’Aero­port [SCA] Vice Chairman Joel Velasque signed an agreement on April 28 to turn over the operation of the airport to the French-led SCA.

The agreement also guarantees SCA more than 90 percent of the revenues and 70 percent of the airport’s operating profits, according to a press release issued by the Council of Ministers. Critics say the deal provides too much profit for the French firm, and will leave the country’s other six airports strapped for cash.

Urooj Malik, ADB’s country representative, noted that the loan agreement requires the government to consult with the bank on any changes in airport operation, but the government failed to do so.

“It could be considered as a breach of the [loan] agreement,” Malik said. “We have told [the gov­ernment] not to proceed with the deal until our lawyers clearly ccc

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