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Chinese investors to return to Cyprus on €600 million deal, but still eyeing Malta
The head of the Chinese company eyeing a potential €600 million investment at the Safi Aviation Park, is expected in Cyprus next week to take a decision on where to invest.
18 July 2012, 12:00am
But the head of the Chinese company Far Eastern Phoenix period is due back in Cyprus next week to respond to the government's positions on the potential €600m deal.
Cypriot communications minister Efthymios Flourentzos said yesterday night that his government was expecting the head of Far Eastern Phoenix Ltd (FEP) to arrive in Cyprus next week "to bring answers and discuss further with us".
He added: "I hope there will be a conclusion. The information we're getting is positive, but without tangible evidence I cannot speak with absolute certainty."
Last month, Flourentzos said the government is prepared to extend the Chinese investment deal for the old Larnaca airport by 31 years, taking it from 19 to 50, but only under certain conditions.
A deal was first reached between FEP and Larnaca's airports' operator Hermes a year and a half ago for a 19-year period, when the latter's concession agreement on the old airport expires.
The Chinese company sought to extend that deal for a further 31 years to justify the large investment needed to turn the old airport into a commercial centre with a showroom and bonded facilities for Chinese companies to display their products.
However, finalisation of the 50-year agreement has hit a number of snags, with the state only recently giving the potential Chinese investors a final proposal with a list of preconditions for reaching agreement.
The Chinese are due to respond to those conditions next week.
The apparent delay in negotiations last month led Hermes spokesman Adamos Aspris to warn that Cyprus may miss out on the investment altogether.
He blamed the delays on red tape, adding that the economy was in dire need of the investment.
DISY deputy Tasos Mitsopoulos echoed the concerns of the Hermes spokesman saying he had information that FEP was in talks with Malta to invest there instead.
Mitspoulos said that he remains informed that the Chinese are still "quite interested" in putting their money in Malta.
MaltaToday reported two weeks ago, that the Chinese have set their eyes on the recently inaugurated Safi Aviation Park to site their investment, which would set up a European base for Chinese manufacturing companies to showcase their products and use it as a hub for export.