Банкеръ Weekly

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CREDITOR BANKS WANT FOREIGN MANAGEMENT OF CENTRAL HEATING

The programme for rehabilitation and modernization of the Sofia-based Central Heating Utility, credited by international financial institutions, envisions that the management of the heating utilities should be undertaken by a private operator. This condition underlies the credit agreement with the World Bank, signed in the beginning of 2003. The new managerial team will undertake the company for a period of three to five years, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide pay-free consulting services.The choice of the managerial team will be made in compliance with the regulations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). According to projections, the tender dosiers had to be ready by end-March and the tender itself should had been completed by end-June. Due to the delay of the agreement, however, the procedure has been postponed for November 15.On May 26 the Sofia Municipal Council approved the documents for the preliminary selection of candidates. The companies which may bid for a contract for operation with the Sofia Central Heating Utility are required to have had an annual turnover of at least BGN300MN (or the equivalent of that amount in a foreign currency) over the last three years. In order to be invited to bid in the real tender, they should have managed for at least five years a profit-making central heating company, comparable with the Sofia utility. Moreover, each member of the managerial team should have at least ten years of professional experience in a company of the branch or to have headed such an outfit for at least five years.One more condition will be set to the candidates: they should have access to or availability of at least BGN2MN (non-mortgaged assets, credit lines, etc.) It has been assessed that such an amount of money would be sufficient to guarantee the contract for four years.

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