Bulgarian Opposition MP Slams Bulgartabac Privatization

Industry | September 4, 2011, Sunday // 12:11|  views

Bulgartabac workers protesting Friday what they see as the inept privatization of their company. Photo by BGNES

The privatization deal for Bulgaria's cigarette producer Bulgartabac is scandalous, according to opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party MP Ana Yaneva.

"If it were on me, I would never conclude such a contract," said Yaneva, who has also been the chair of the Bulgartabac Oversight Board.

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 the Russian state-owned VTB bank.

The EUR 101.1 M deal was finalized Friday by the Supervisory Board of the Agency.

In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio Sunday, MP Yaneva said that one of the troubling features of the deal was that only one bidder met the requirements, and it was not a strategic one.

She expressed worries that the price offered was too low and that BT Invest has committed too little in investing in the company and buying local Bulgarian tobacco.

Regarding speculations about the actual owner of BT Invest, Yaneva said: "I have no doubt that the ultimate owner of the company is Bulgarian."

According to the socialist MP, Bulgaria's government has failed to protect the country's interest in staging a very non-transparent and unprofitable privatization.

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Tags: Bulgartabac, tobacco, cigarette, Ana Yaneva, Bulgarian Socialist Party, BT Invest, Privatization Agency


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