BULGARIAN RIVER SHIPPING SAILS INTO PRIVATISATION WATERS
30% (268,621 shares) from the capital of Bulgarian River Shipping will be offered for sale on the stock exchange from February 16 till March 26. The minimum price per share, set by the Privatisation Agency (PA) is BGN87 in compensation instruments, which are currently traded at almost 24% of their par value. Thus, the real price of the paper will be BGN20.88 apiece, or BGN5.6MN for the 30% stake. According to forecasts, both small and more serious investors will be interested in the company's stocks. Bulgarian River Shipping - Rousse is 100% state property. It was established back in 1935 and is engaged in cargo and passenger transportation along the Danube. Presently, the company's fleet includes 18 motor ships and 140 barges (excluding those that are out of service), as well as the Bdin ferry which effects transportation between Vidin and Kalafat. Bulgarian River Shipping also owns land and buildings, but restitutional claims have been laid for them. The company has representative offices in Regensburg, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade. Bulgarian River Shipping reported BGN400,000 in loss for the first nine months of last year. By the end of September 2003 it had transported a total of 800,000 tons. Throughout 2002 the cargo turnover was less - 750,000 tons, and in 2001 it was only 350,000 tons. According to the company's Executive Director Dragomir Kovachev, the negative financial performance was due to the high prices of fuels, which appreciated after the war in Iraq in the first three months of last year, and the prolonged drough in the summer which disturbed sailing for at least six months. Mr. Kovachev expects an increased amount of cargo turnover and better results this year if the weather is more favourable.