Bulgarian Businessman Takes Over Biggest Private Gas NetworkEnergy | July 4, 2016, Monday // 13:59| views
File photo, EPA/BGNES
Bulgarian businessman Sasho Donchev has become the majority shareholder of the country's biggest private gas supply network, the Commerce Register shows.
Overgas Mrezhi AD (literally "Overgas Networks") was until now controlled by a Bulgarian-Russian joint venture called Overgas, Inc., where Russian energy giant Gazprom and Donchev himself had even shares.
The developments comes after a dispute between Overgas and Gazprom that began on New Year's Eve over a halt in gas supplies to the Bulgarian supplier, with the Russian company citing unsettled "commercial issues". It also follows reports of Gazprom's plans to pull out of some joint ventures in Eastern Europe as part of a new business strategy.
An inquiry into Bulgaria's Commerce Register shows "Overgas, Inc. AD" and two natural persons were removed as entities in the "Board of Directors" field.
Sasho Georgiev Donchev, Mihail Vladimirov Zahmanov, and Georgi Donchev are three new entries that form the board.
Overgas is also taking out a BGN 160 M (EUR 81.6 M) loan to cover overdue payments to DSK Bank and to its former parent company Overgas, Inc., according to Kapital newspaper.
It quotes Overgas representatives as declining to comment and saying details will be announced within days.
The reshuffle was reportedly agreed in April, when Overgas Mrezhi's capital was boosted by BGN 202.5 M to the benefit of UK-based DDI Holding Ltd, which Britain's Companies House shows is owned by Bulgarian Di Di Management (where Donchev is a majority shareholder).
Donchev is also DDI Holding's Director.
Overgas's loan from UniCredit, agreed in June, was also given the thumbs up by Bulgaria's energy regulator, KEVR - a step required under the law as the deal could breach security of supplies.