BALKANCAR HOLDING IN A STALEMATE AGAIN
At the eighth centralized tender, to be held on the stock exchange, state-owned packages in five subsidiaries of Balkancar Holding will be put up for sale against cash instruments of payment. They will be traded as inseparable shares. Boyana Karaivanova, trustee in bankruptcy of Balkarcar Holding, which fell into insolvency in September 2002, will offer for sale by the end of this month the majority packages in seven of its subsidiaries: Balkcancar Shesti Septemvri - Sofia, Balkancar Zarya - Pavlikeni, Balkancar Zvezda - Lukovit, Balkancar ZP T. Petrov - Sofia, Balkancar ZPDEA G. Kostov - Sofia, Balkancar Iskar - Mezdra, and Balkancar Miziya - Byala Slatina. At the same time their minority shares will be put up for sale on the stock exchange against cash instruments of payment. Thus, if they act quickly candidate-buyers could acquire 100% of the offered enterprises. It's another question how attractive they are. According to Ms. Karaivanova, up this moment no interest towards them has been shown. Moreover, the majority 60% shares in the capital of Balkancar Iskar and Balkancar ZPDEA G. Kostov have already been offered for sale, at that several times. Questions were asked only about Balkancar Shesti Septemvri, but nothing more than that. In fact, this co-ordination between the activities of the trustee in bankruptcy and the state institutions, is not at all accidental. Deputy Minister of the Economy Valentin Purvanov and Ms. Karaivanova have been meeting often recently to discuss how could Balcancar Holding's subsidiaries be more painlessly taken out of the court mess in which they had drawn them. This concerns the lawsuits that have been going on for two years now, for the increase of the capital in some of Balkancar's companies. None of them has reached the last court instance. When this happens, both parties will probably have lost interest, as practically there would be no winners in that situation. However, the lawsuits are blocking the operation of the enterprises in the holding's structure and they continue to accrue debts and cannot come out of the crisis. Overdue wages alone exceed BGN4MN. But the lack of turnover capital is among their most serious problems. The release of an interest-free loan on the part of the Ministry of Economy (which is their shareholder) could be a remedy for the shaken financial health of the companies. But the State has not done such a thing since the sunrise of democracy. The only possible way out of the situation seem to be a solvent investor who could afford to pour fresh financial resources into the enterprises, that are already in a pre-liquidation fever. According representatives of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB), the branch should be sold as an entity. This is one of their demands, addressed to President Georgi Parvanov, PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Vice Premier and Minister of Economy Lidiya Shouleva, and Parliamentary Chairman Ognyan Gerdjikov. However, the privatisation of Balkancar as a whole is impossible due to several reasons. The sale of five of the holding's subsidiaries will be launched within a few days. And cases for clarifying the ownership in another seven enterprises have not been completed yet. Moreover, the second meeting of creditors made a decision that the sale of the insolvent enterprises' assets should be effected by the trustee in bankruptcy in self-detached parts. That is why syndicates have rolled up their sleeves to find out someone that has a legal right to litigate the adjudication in bankruptcy of Balkancar Holding. Practically, there is no one to represent the holding after the withdrawal of its executive director Toma Trayanov, during whose term in office the company was declared insolvent. According to the trade unions, the Ministry of Economy could undertake that task. Having in mind that the state institution is not a side in the lawsuit, it would be hardly allowed to lay a claim. Anyway, if a legal representative of the holding is found, there comes the question what would happen if the claim is honoured, though in a few years by the court of last instance. What will be the fate of the deals for the holding's assets, closed by the trustee in bankruptcy? Within the last month alone Mr. Karaivanova held several successful tenders for spare parts of the bankrupt company and has made several unsuccessful attempts to sell its receivables from foreign companies. According to CITUB's Deputy Chairman Nikolay Nenkov, Balkancar Holding and its subsidiaries are doomed to liquidation if there is no change in their current state. That is why, effective strikes will begin all over the country as of October 1 in the entire system of Balkancar Holding's enterprises.