Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

BURAUCRATIC DAMS BLOC BULGARIAN RIVER NAVIGATION

The deadline for selection of a consultant for the sale of the Russe based Bulgarian River Navigation expired on September25, 2000. Until now the consultant should have made an objective market evaluation, prepared the information bulletin and carried out a marketing research about the potential buyers. But this is not the case. The year has already expired, but the consultant has not yet been appointed. The reason, however, is not in the lack of interest. On the contrary, as the Privatization Agency officials say, at least three offers have been placed - by KPMG, Deloitte and Touche and Newton Finance - Bulgaria
According to the pre-conditions defined by the Agency, the consultant should have finalized the assignment within six to eight months. After which the Privatization Agency will need another four months for preparing the tender procedure, and one more month for making the decision. Shortly, should the privatization officials decide to speed up the procedure the company will be able to meet its new owner next year earliest.
This, however, is a technology-based forecast. We should keep in mind that there will be parliamentary elections in May and it will form new government. It is still too early to say what will be its decision for the privatization of the company. It is not yeat clear why the Privatization Agency hasted in selling it six months ago - to such an extent that it even gave it a wrong name - Bulgarian River Fleet. A month later the mistake was corrected, but the sale of the company was neglected.
Although the consultant and the planned marketing research were missing, after the decision for the privatization of Bulgarian River Navigation was published, some interested candidates initiated contacts with the company. These were mainly foreign companies, among which a big German company clearly stood out. (According to a survey of the Banker weekly this most probably is Detmar Group, owning more than a thousand river ships, navigating along Rhain, Mein and Danube. Its Nuernberg based daughter company Rhain - Donau Transportcontrol has had a representation office in Rousse for many years). A Bulgarian economic group also intended to participate in the tender.
The interest to the river fleet is not an occasional one. The company owns 17 sheeps and about 200 barges with total tonnage 230 thousand tons. It also has tank-places - terminal and warehouse based on a barge; a big office building in Rousse city center, a 100-bed recreation house at the Kamchia outflow, as well as a smaller one in the outskirs of the city. It also has some offices abroad, and two flats in Budapest as well as in the Ukrainian port Renny.

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