AUDITORS WILL INQUIRE INTO HEKIMOVA'S ACTIVITIES IN ALEN MAK
The lawyer of the Ministry of Economy Rouska Vassileva is the new Executive Director of the Plovdiv-based cosmetics manufacturer Alen Mak. The decision was made at the company's Board of Directors' (BoD) session on August 8. Ms. Vassileva assumes duties after the post was held for three years by Antonina Hekimova (who is a relative of former UDF's Chief Secretary Hristo Bisserov). The BoD members also scheduled an extraordinary meeting for September 24 to discuss amendments to the company's Statutes and changes in the BoD. Moreover, an internationally acknowledged auditing company is expected to be assigned to investigate into Alen Mak's operation in the period after 1998 until the change of its management.
The decisions were made with the votes of the three representatives of the Ministry of Economy in the BoD (Rouska Vassileva, Anna Kambourova, and Anna Popova) and Keneth Lefkovitz, representaive of the minority shareholder EPIK (an Austrian invetsment bank). Mr. Leftovitz said to the BANKER weekly that after the recent changes he is ready to work with the company's managerial team and render his assistance for a significant improvement of its financial performance.
However, Alen Mak's future development will not be easy. The cosmetics manufacturer, which was a money-maker four years ago, had been working at a loss over the last year and a half. It has already accumulated losses of USD13MN. The enterprise's sales proceeds dropped by more than 30% and amounted to BGL18MN in the first half of 2001.
The State still holds 75% of Alen Mak's assets. The balance was sold during the firts wave of mass privatisation. EPIK controls 22.36% through its companies Nadezhda and the Cypriot Select Ltd. EPIK's Manager Lefkovitz claims that his structures have lost USD2MN due to the enterprise's mismanagement in the last years.
For five years now the unfortunate Alen Mak cannot find a majority shareholder. On two occasions - in 1996 and 2000 - the Varna-based company Canotrans EOOD had real chances of acquiring a majority stake in the company. A year ago Canotrans signed a purchase contract for USD6.3MN in cash and even paid the first installment - 10% of the amount. Afterwards, however, an overall audit of Alen Mak's state was demanded. It turned out that the enterprise's performance had worsened and Canotrans insisted to pay 70% of the purchase price in compensation bonds. The Privatisation Agency (PA), however, did not approve of that requirement and cancelled the deal. In June, 2001 the PA invited a new privatisation procedure and nine candidate-buyers purchased information memoranda. However, no one of them placed an offer. The new Cabinet's plans for quick finalization of all divestment deals surely project the opening of a new procedure for Alen Mak's sale. Only EPIK has so far announced its intention to take part in the bidding.