Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

DOUNARIT TO BE PRIVATIZED

The Privatisation Agency (PA) put up for sale 92% of the Rousse-based Dounarit. The offer was placed on May 25, only five days after a green light was given to the sale of two independent parts of the enterprise - the Han Tervel plant and the Albatros hotel in Kranevo. PA's press centre explained that was made in order to reduce the price of the enterprise and render it more attractive. The Rousse-based company possess 1,200 dca of plots and 63,700 sq m of built-up area, but the premises were constructed in the 1966-1995 period. Dounarit's assets also include production sites in 21 villages. Back a year ago the company's Executive Director Krustyo Krustev mentioned that interest to the enterprise was shown by the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, the Ukraine, the USA and Romania. In March 2003 foreign military attaches examined the plant's capacities. However, it is not certain how far they liked them. Dounarit is in an unenviable financial state and its liabilities amount to dozens million of levas. Several creditors have initiated lawsuits against the company and divestment is the last chance to help it to its feet again. The enterprise was set up as a subsidiary to the state-run Metalchim of Sopot in 1991. A year later it became self-dependent and its activities were mainly concentrated in the manufacture of special purpose products for the military-industrial complex, industrial explosives, gas combustion systems, etc. In the last few years, however, due to the loss of its arms markets, the company has reorientated to products for civil use, which already account for 20% of its total output. Regarding special purpose goods, its trade activities are effected mainly through the mediation of licensed firms. The Italian company Armet, Belgium's Shecom, the Sofia-based Stroyproject and Electricity Distribution, are among its major clients. This is the PA's second attempt to sell the enterprise. The first procedure for its divestment was opened on July 31, 1998 and the privatisation had to be effected through negotiations with potential buyers. On June 23, 1999, however, the PA suspended the procedure and the government entrusted the then minister of industry to prepare and sign the deal on Dounarit. However, this did not become a fact.

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