Hopes High for Bidders at Bulgaria Steel Mill New Auction

Industry | September 14, 2010, Tuesday // 10:45|  views

Kremikovtzi workers have staged numerous rallies to call on the state to approve a recovery plan for the company and bring to justice those, who have allegedly siphoned it. Photo by BGNES

The second auction of bankrupt steel giant Kremikovtzi, considered the pride of the communist-era industry in Bulgaria, due in November, will draw buyers and the assets will be sold, the factory's receiver believes.

"I am certain that Kremikovtzi's assets will be sold and its creditors will be redeemed," Tsvetan Bankov said.

According to him the rail transport network and the electricity and natural gas distribution grids on the site of the plant are its biggest asset and should draw investors, when the price falls.

Unlike the first auction, which failed on Monday, the second auction will be with direct bidding. It will be held by Nov. 15 and the starting price will be cut by 20% or BGN 452 414 008. The bidder with the highest offer will be selected for buyer.

The first closed-bid auction of Kremikovtzi failed to attract any bidders on Monday. It started at BGN 565 517 510, which according to trade unions and analysts is far below the market price. Prospective investors were invited to deliver sealed bids between noon and 1 p.m. on September 13, with a 10% deposit to be paid in advance, but no one turned up.

The site and assets of the struggling company, built in the 1960s, are offered for sale four months after the behemoth was sent into liquidation, its businesses -  wound up and its assets – offloaded.

Last year the smelter shut down some of its furnaces due to lack of raw materials after Ukrainian tycoon Konstyantin Zhevago cancelled a deal with the plant.

It was previously owned by Pramod Mittal, the younger brother of ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Officer Lakshmi Mittal.

The auction comes nearly a year after the majority of creditors of the troubled steel-maker rejected the rescue plan for the struggling company, while workers staged numerous rallies to call on the state to approve the recovery plan and bring to justice those, who have allegedly siphoned the company.

The sprawling communist-era behemoth near Sofia was declared bankrupt end of May and cleared for liquidation in June, after years of struggle with dire economic conditions, and multiple controversies about mismanagement and financial draining. In a high profile case, Alexander Tomov, former CEO of Kremikovtzi and Bulgarian football great CSKA, is currently facing trial.

The total debts of Bulgaria's former largest steel-maker amount to BGN 1,9 B, whereas the market value of all of its assets has been estimated at BGN 837 M.

Kremikovtzi, one of Bulgaria's biggest companies, provided jobs for over 5 000 people and its future was a politically sensitive issue ahead of the general elections last summer.

Different views about the future of Kremikovtzi site have been recently discussed by the Bulgarian public and authorities, including a possible retainment of the operating mill, creating a museum, a residential neighborhood and a new industrial park.

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Tags: closed-bid auction, ArcelorMittal, Kremikovtzi, Kremikovtsi, Traicho Traikov, Alexander Tomov, sofia, Tsvetan Bankov, auction, direct bidding


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