FORMER PRIVATIZATION AGENCY DIRECTOR PARTICIPATES IN THE HEMUS AIR TENDER
Alexander Sabotinov, who was the first executive director of the Privatization Agency appointed by present government and is now manager of Raiffeisen Investment Bulgaria, is interested in the privatization of the second national air carrier Hemus Air.
Sabotinov is also representative and consultant of New Hemus Aviation Inc., registered at Delaware, US. On December 14, 2000 he has sent a letter to Zachary Zheliazkov, the Privatization Agency Executive Director at that time, enclosing additional documents for the registration of the company and the shareholding structure of the company applying for the privatization of the carrier. Thus it became clear that 98% of the company capital is owned by George Stavri, who is also the executive director of the company. The remaining 2% belong to Air Foyl Passenger Airline Ltd., a member of Air Foyl Group. The latter owns two air carriers - one is a passenger and the other - a cargo airline. It is based at the London Lutton Airport and has offices in Siattle, Houston, Yohannesburg and Kiev. Its 1999 turnover amounts to USD112MN. According to Sabotinov, the daughter company Air Foyl Passinger Airline, although it has just a 2% share in the off-shore New Hemus Aviation Inc., in case of successful acquisition, will take over the management of Hemus Air.
New Hemus Aviation Inc. was established especially for participation in this privatization tender, that is why it is not in a position to present the requested audited financial reports of its activities, reads the letter. As Sabotinov declares further, should the Privatization Agency initiate negotiations with the company for signing a privatization contract, the buyer is going to register a company in Bulgaria, which will buy 51% of Hemus Air. Thus will be fulfilled the requirement for the nationality of the carrier, which is in accordance with the requirements for the negotiations.
Sabotinov has asked Zachary Zheliazkov to give permission for the inspection of the company. He has also attached a list of the experts who should have access to the information regarding Hemus Air. The list is quite long, it includes 17 experts. Besides George Stavry, the Executive Director, Sabotinov included the consultants Panikos Papadakis and Kiriakos Papadakis, as well as John Jones, Mike Hopkins, Paul Begly and John Gurney - all of them Air Foyl experts. From the Bulgarian side, besides for Sabotinov, permission was requested for nine more experts. Among them is Ivan Sokolov, former employee of Balkan Airlines, who made an attempt in 1998 to privatize it as executive director of the MEBO company Balkan Air.
According to the former director of the Privatization Agency, the Air Foyl experts needed at least two weeks to analyze the activities of Hemus Air and to set up a strategy for its development. That is why he asked for an extension of the deadline for placing offers with at least two or three weeks. It is not clear whether Sabotinov's letter has influenced the Privatization Agency, but on December 29, 2000 it decided to extend the deadline, initially fixed for January 10, till February 12, 2001.