A CALM BEFORE THE STORM AT CCB
On November 5 the general meeting of the Bank Consolidation Company (BCC) increased the members of its Board of Directors (BoD) from five to seven. The new BoD members are: Deputy Finance Minister Krassimir Katev and Nelly Kordovska (who assumed Deputy Premier Nikolai vassilev's duties as Executive Director). Nothing else happened to attract media's interest.However, the tedium of BCC's November general meeting will be soon forgotten. As of next week the new Executive Director Nelly Kordovska will be fully occupied with the tender for the sale of BCC'a shares in Central Cooperative Bank (CCB). The BCC has considerably raised the lath by asking more than BGL6MN for its 32.8% package in CCB. The price of BGL1.13 apiece is really high, having in mind that in the last two months the bank's shares of par value BGL1 were going at BGL0.70 each. Therefore, some candidate purchasers comment the price asked by BCC as blocking.Only a buyer with a strategic interest in CCB may bid for BCC's package in the bank. Chimimport, controlled by the Varna strong-arm group TIM (whose firms traded actively in CCB's shares over the last two month) is presently outlined as such. More than 20% of CCB's capital (which is now distributed between several offshore companies) passed through TIM's hands. By these operations the Varna-based group demonstrated its determination to pay teh necessary price for acquiring contriol over CCB. It is quite logical to expect that TIM would offer the BGL6MN, demanded by the BCC. Otherwise, its former investments in CCB shares will be a loss of both time and money. But the possibility that another candate buyer appears and tries to upset TIM's plans, should not be ruled out. If the tender does not fail, the BCC can be only glad to get such a high price for its package in CCB.Chimimport and its owners have already succeeded to gain command of CCB's operative maangement. Their presence was initially humble, embodied by Genadi Tabakov, who was appointed in the beginning of August 2001, but only as a memebr of CCB's Management Board. Two months and a half later he was elected Executive Director, and the bank's managerial team was joined by Chimimport's representatives Tsvetan Botev and Alexander Kerezov. Tihomir Atanassov, who manages several firms connected with TIM, was appointed CCB's procurator.Although the BCC is currently the biggest shareholder in the CCB, Ivo Goranov is its only representative in the bank's management. The tender for the sale of BCC's stocks in CCB is to be held on November 23.