Things are going well in Montenegro at the moment, according to Komnenic Law Office Managing Partner Milos Komnenic, a function not only of the country’s stable political situation, with the current government elected in November 2016, and President Milo Dukanovic elected in April of this year, but more significantly as the result of the country’s June 2017 entrance into NATO.
“The biggest project on the table at the moment is the initiation this past August by the Montenegrin government of the long-awaited tender procedure for the two airport concessions,” Komnenic reports. “The IFC is the consultant, and both the major airports — in Podgorica and Tivat — will be subject of the concession.” According to him, the concessions will be for a term of 25 to 30 years, and the tender will follow the standard concession model, similar to the one employed in the Serbian airport tender last year (ultimately awarded to French infrastructure group Vinci as reported by CEE Legal Matters on April 9, 2018). The process, Komnenic reports, "is expected to happen, according to the plans of the state, in the first quarter of next year,” and its significance for the small country is huge. "I would say that’s the biggest deal in Montenegro in the past few years, aside from the Belgrade-Bar] highway, which is expected to cost EUR 2 billion.”
And overall business is good, Komnenic says, primarily in the tourism sector, with the real estate market doing well, “particularly on the seaside.” Komnenic reports that a number of hotels are being built on the country’s extensive coastline. "You can see the change — both local and foreign investors who were previously building apartments are now turning to hotels,” he says, “with a number either already built or in progress.” He points specifically to the new five-star Chedi hotel in Lustica Bay and the Iberostar hotels in Perast and Kotor.
In addition, he says, there are “a lot of M&As happening on the SME level,” and he reports that his own office has worked on several deals at this level this year “with an indirect value of more than 200 million euros.”
Finally, Komnenic reports “some progress on the economic citizenship initiative for which there is huge interest” which would provide citizenship to those who invest beyond a specified minimum in Montenegrin real estate. "The first acts are currently under development,” he says. “It’s still unclear what projects will be categorized as 'government-approved,' so that needs to be clarified.” Still, he says, "we expect them soon, so we expect the program to start at the end of this year or the first half of next year.” He reports that “the general terms and conditions would require EUR 100,000 plus an investment of EUR 250,000 in the undeveloped part (north of country) or EUR 450,000 in the developed part – the central and seaside parts of the country.”