Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

BULGARGAS IS MOVING TOWARDS PRIVATISATION

Bulgardas JSCo. is the only energy company which has fully fulfilled the Kostov's government committments as per the 3-year agreement with the IMF. The statement was made in a report on Bulgargas financial and economic status, fulfilment of investment schedule and preparation of restructuring and privatisation. The document was offered for discussion at the last session of the parliamentary Energy and Energy Resourcess Commission, which took place on April 11, 2001.
Bulgargas restructuring started by separation in terms of accounting of all main company activities: supply, transfer, transit, distribution and storing of natural gas. The 1999 and 2000 accounting reports were established on that basis. Last year were developed two different modes of company restructuring through establishment of distribution companies at specific regions:
- ten major pipeline junctions - Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Rousse, Razgrad, Haskovo, Sevlievo, Vratsa and Pleven, or
- seven large gas distribution districts - Sofia city, Sofia District, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Pleven and Dupnitsa.
According to the chosen variant in this regions will be established and licenced ten or seven gas distribution companies. They will be joint ventures of Bulgargas, municipalities and private companies. State stake will be gradually reduced through well known mechanisms - capital buy out, capital increase in favour of municipal and/or private companies. All preliminary activities for establishing ownership of land, where distribution pipelines, gas distribution stations and other technical facilities outside the major pipeline were established, as well as ownership of the facilities, have already been finalised.
However, taking steps towards privatisation requests the enforcement of the Energy and Energy Efficiency Act amendments, which will hardly take place prior to October, 2001. Besides, there is no guarantee that next parliament will vote the same amendments developed by Ivan Shiliashky's experts and accepted by Kostov's government.
Since the implementation of the rehabilitation plan on July 1, 1999, till the end of last year Bulgargas has transferred to the budget BGL374MN, including VAT, tax on profit, municipality tax, scheduled liabilities payments, etc.

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