Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

BULGARTABAC BUYER TO BE CHOSEN BY TONNAGE

The methodology for assessing the purchase offers for 80% of Bulgartabac Holding remains unchanged despite the attacks against it. On Monday (June 10) the last meeting of the expert panel on Bulgaratabac's sale was held in the Council of Ministers. The only change, as the BANKER weekly predicted in its previous issue, was that the term for paying in the required deposit was extended from June 10 to June 14. And July 1 is the deadline for depositing applications for participation through consortia. According to the announced rules, new firms may bid for Bulgartabac only if they unite (after a permission from the Privatisation Agency) with any of the five companies, admitted to take part in the second round of the bidding. But no consortium can be set up between any of the five companies, admitted to take part in the second round. The final offers should be submitted by July 22. Then information will be given about their main parameters, PA's Executive Director Apostol Apostolov explained.The quantity of tobacco, which candidates promose to buy out, will have the greatest relative importance when assessing the offer - 47 per cent; the price will account for 43 per cent; the amount of investments and the number of working positions will each count 5 per cent. The Movement of Rights and Freedoms (MRF) insisted that the price should weigh less that the other criteria when nominating the buyer. This stance of the Government's coalition partner is understandable, having in mind that the livelihood of a large part of MRF's electorate depends on the deal for Bulgartabac. There is still no other substitutional means of livilihood in the tobacco-growing regions and there won't be any in the near future. MRF's stance, however, was opposed, mostly by experts of the Ministry of Economy, who proposed that the price should account for 80% of the evaluation, and the investment programme - for 20 per cent. According to the experts of Deputy Premier and Minister of Economy Nikolai Vassilev, the buyers should guarantee that they would buy at least 40,000 tons of tobacco annually. The other promises should not count. Thus, the requirement in the strategy for Bulgartabac's privatisation would be observed. According to the same document, the purchased tobacco is the most important criterion and whoever of the buyers does not guarantee to purchase a set minimum quantity, should not be admitted to the bidding at all. However, this proposal was not approved by the participants in the expert group. It is said that Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha personally made the final decision about the methodology for assessing the offers of Bulgartabac Holding.

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