Bulgaria's Kovachki Wants to Operate Freight Transport

Industry | May 7, 2014, Wednesday // 10:56|  views

Hristo Kovachki. Photo by EPA/BGNES

A company in close relation with Hristo Kovachki, a controversial Bulgarian businessman, has sought a license to operate railway freight transportation.

Bulgaria's Transport Ministry is to dedice in a few months whether to grant a permit to the entity, according to officials who confirmed for the daily Trud that such request had been received at the Ministry.

TBD - Freight Transport, the company which has shown interest in railway freight services, is confirmed by experts to have locomotives and goods wagons in stock.

It is owned by Bobov Dol Thermal Power Station (TPS), which Kovachki, described by some as a "tycoon", allegedly owns. Dimitar Petkov, who is registered as the owner to TBD - Freight Transport is, on the other hand, also known as a close partner to Kovachki.

If the new firm is allowed to operate on Bulgarian railroads, it could carry coal from Kovachki's mines to Bobov Dol TPS and other stations where he is involved, according to Expert.bg.

The raw material is currently delivered by Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) Freight Transport via the shipping agent TBL.

BDZ Freight Transport is a state-owned company that is highly indebted but is alwo to collect some BGN 11.4 M from TBL.

On February 21, BDZ decided to suspend freight transport for Kovachki's coal over prolonged debts.

By 14 June, a commission with the Transport Ministry has to consider the candidate's application.

Minister Danail Papazov will then have a three-month deadline to take a final decision. StandartNews quotes finance ministers as saying that BDZ Freight Transport might suffer huge losses if a license is granted to TBD.

Hristo Kovachki, an "oligarch" for some and a "businessman" for others, owns key mines and TPS in Bulgaria and has often been blamed for a number of problems in Bulgaria's energy sector.

Among his possessions are also heating utilities in Varna, Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo and Pleven, the grocery chain Evropa and the Atomenergoremont  company.

Kovachki is said to be behind a political party called Lider, but has denied claims that it is his "personal project". He was also tried for tax evasion at the Sofia Appellate Court in 2013, but was fully acquitted in January this year.

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Tags: Kovachki, Bobov Dol, BDZ, Freight Transport, TBD, Bulgarian State Railways, LIDER


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