FIVE COMPANIES WILLING TO BID FOR BULGARIAN RIVER SHIPPING
Five companies have filed documents for participation in the tender for the purchase of 70% of Bulgarian River Shipping AD - Rousse. These are: the Sofia-based Chimimport AD and Toplivo AD, Kaolin AD - Senovo, the Cyprus- registered Bulcom Ltd., and Hungary's Masped Rt. The Privatisation Agency (PA) is expected to check if they satisfy the competition terms and will only then issue a certificate for registration. Those who get it may buy an information memorandum by April 15 and file preliminary offers by April 25. Quite as expected and logically, a firm close to the holder of the remaining shares in Bulgarian River Shipping AD joined the competition. Kaolin AD - Senovo is controlled by Alfa Finance Holding which bought 30% of the Rousse-based company in May 2004. One of the holding's owners is Ivo Prokopoev, the publisher of the Capital and Dnevnik newspapers. Kaolin AD produces building materials and owns the biggest china clay deposit in the Balkan peninsular. The other bidder - Chimimport AD - holds interest in more than 50 companies. The most significant between them are: Hemus Air, TSKB Group Asset Management, Oil and Gas Prospecting and Extraction, Kambana - Polski Trambesh, and Sunny Rays Bulgaria - Provadia. TSKB Group Asset Management controls Central Cooperative Bank, Armeets insurance and reinsurance company, and TSKB Sila AD pension insurance fund. Toplivo AD operates on the markets of liquid fuels, building and heating materials. It has 200 depots and warehouses, 100 establishments for sale of liquid fuels, and 108 stores. Its 2004 profit was BGN706,000. Toplivo is one of the main firms within the portfolio of Sinergo Holding. The Cyprus-based Bulcom Ltd. is a shareholder in the Bulyard company. It owns a 75% stake in Bulyard Shipbuilding Industry AD, which manages assets of the former Varna Shipyard. The balance of 25% of Bulyard Shipbuilding Industry AD is in the hands of Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar).Hungary's Masped Rt operates on the market of forwarding services. It is within the structure of Masped Group which is among the leading logistics firms in Central Europe. In addition to the above-mentioned companies, tender dossiers were purchased by Equest EAD, First Finance and Brokerage House OOD, Intershipping EOOD - Rousse, Danube River Shipping AD - Sofia, the Norwegian PD GramCo. AS, Austria's Greest-Panta Rhei, and the Hungarian Masped Rail Kft.According to the terms, only juristic persons, registered in Bulgaria or in an EU member country are allowed to take part in the contest. No offshore firms are permitted to participate. Financial investors are required to have proceeds from transport and logistics services worth a total of EUR30MN-plus for the last three fiscal years. Strategic investors, on their part, have to prove that within the same period they had handled cargoes of at least 2 million tons. Companies in which the majority package is in the hands of firms managing financial assets and holding share participation worth EUR50MN-plus over the last year, will be admitted to the competition as well. Preliminary offers for the controlling package of shares in Bulgarian River Shipping AD will be evaluated according to three criteria - price, investments and number of working positions. The offered purchase bid will be the most important criterion, accounting for 70 points, and each of the two other criteria will bring 15 points. The candidates admitted to the second stage of the tender will have to present a binding offer with a price and a 5-year business programme, including plans for number of working positions and investments.