Bulgaria Ready to Seal Bulgartabac Deal amidst Protest RallyIndustry | September 2, 2011, Friday // 12:18| views
The State-owned Bulgartabac is Bulgaria's tobacco and cigarette making monopoly. File photo
The contract with BT Invest, the candidate to purchase the Bulgarian State-owned cigarette maker Bulgartabac Holding has received preliminary approval Thursday, and will be examined and voted on Friday.
The information is reported by the Bulgarian Capital weekly, citing the Chair of the Governing Board of Bulgaria's Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Agency, Yuliya Nenkova. The Agency had a 15-day deadline to decide on the bid.
On Tuesday, after one day of examining documentation, the Bulgarian Privatization Agency approved the sale of the State-owned tobacco monopoly Bulgartabac Holding to BT Invest, a firm registered in Austria by VTB bank, property of the Russian government.
The price offered by BT Invest, the sole bidder standing, after several major players withdrew, is EUR 100.1 M with investments of BGN 7 M in the next two years and the commitment to purchase 5 000 metric tons of Bulgarian tobacco a year (about 14% of the crop). The draft contract also includes a clause banning a resell in the next 5 years.
The Governing Board Privatization and Post-Privatization Control Agency is a political body, elected by the Parliament. It consist of three representatives of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party, one each from the opposition left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, the opposition ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, DSB, and the far-right, nationalist Ataka.
Also on Friday, the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily reported that the Russian Federation has submitted a request for a guarantee for a future claim against the Bulgarian State-owned cigarette maker Bulgartabac Holding, but the Sofia City Court had not examined it.
Meanwhile, the labor union of the Bulgartabac workers organized a protest rally in front of the Privatization Agency's building in Sofia. They oppose the sale of the cigarette maker to the only remaining bidder in the public procurement procedure and insist that the Governing Board rejects the offer.
In a declaration to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, the Union demands halting the deal and the resignation of the Privatization Agency's CEO, Emil Karanikolov.
About 500 people are taking part in the rally.
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