Bulgaria's Corporate Commercial Bank Sells Minority Stake in Bulgartabac

Industry | May 29, 2012, Tuesday // 18:49|  views

One of the few Bulgarian-owned banks, Corporate Commercial Bank, has sold its 8% stake in Bulgaria's largest cigarette producer Bulgartabac Holding.

Corporate Commercial Bank has sold a total of 605 177 Bulgartabac shares, or 8.21% of the holding's capital, thus technically exiting the cigarette-maker.

The deal was settled with two transactions registered by Bulgaria's Central Depository on May 23 and May 28, the bank said, as cited by money.bg.

In one of the controversial Bulgarian privatization deals, Bulgartabac Holding was sold by the Bulgarian government to a subsidiary of the Russian bank VTB for EUR 100.1 M in September 2011. The company completed 2011 with a net profit of BGN 31.3 M.

Corporate Commercial Banks was formally among the 14 bidders who expressed interest in the privatization of the state-owned share of 80% of Bulgartabac almost a year ago.

At a Parliament hearing in September, the head of the Bulgarian Privatization Agency Emil Karanikolov refuted numerous media reports and allegations by political figures that the buyer had anything to do with Bulgaria's Corporate Commercial Bank, believed to finance the media group of mogul Irena Krasteva, and/or alcohol producer Vinprom Peshtera, which in turn are believed to be tied with the ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms).

BT Invest, owned by Russia's second-largest bank VTB , won at the end of August a tender to buy a 79.8% stake in Bulgartabac for EUR 100.1 M.

The contract bans the resale of the holding in the next ten years, a condition which can be skipped through a change in the ownership of BT Invest; this possibility has been admitted by the Bulgarian Privatization Agency.

Austria-registered BT Invest, behind which stands Russia's second-biggest bank VTB, remained the only bidder for the Bulgarian tobacco monopoly after British American Tobacco and Austria-based CB Family Office Service dumped the sale.

Two of the less profitable plants of Bulgartabac holding - in the cities of Plovdiv and Stara Zagora - were sold in 2009 through the Sofia Stock Exchange - for BGN 31 M and BGN 18 M respectively.

The holding currently owns the two larger and more consolidated factories in Sofia and Blagoevgrad, a processing plant in Yasen near Pleven, as well as a number of commercial brands.

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Tags: Corporate Commercial Bank, Bulgartabac, Bulgartabac Holding, Bulgartabac Holding AD, CCB, cigarette producer, cigarette-maker, tobacco, BT Invest, VTB, VTB Capital


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