HUNGARIAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATE UNDERTAKES BULGARTABAC HOLDING
Georgi Popov is the new Executive Director of Bulgartabac Holding. The decision was taken by the company's recently formed Board of Directors (BoD), whose six members gathered immediately after the general meeting of Bulgartabac's shareholders on September 11. Mr. Popov was born in 1964 in Rousse. He finished the English Language school in his native town and studied international economic relations in Budapest. Mr. Popov worked in Hungary, Bulgaria, and Greece. He was a regional manager of Gillette for the Balkans and the Mediterranean countries. Mr. Popov was also a financial director of the Amillum corn products factory in Razgrad. The Deputy Minister of Economy Lyubka Kachakova was elected Chairperson of Bulgartabac's BoD, which includes also her colleague Kaloyan Ninov, who was the State's representative at the holding's general meeting. Georgi Kostov, a former executive director of Blagoevgrad-BT in 1997-1998, is also among BoD's new members. Mr. Kostov, 48, has 10 years of experience in the tobacco holding's system. He was a commercial director of Blagoevgrad-BT for four years.The fifth BoD member is Roumen Porozhanov, a head of a department at the Finance Ministry. In the late 90s he was on the boards of three enterprises, which went private: the Arsenal armoury, the Vinprom-Plovdiv winery in Peroushtitsa, and Agrotechnica in Karlovo. The representative of the enthnic Turks' Movement for Rights and Freedoms Mithan Metin presented himself at the general meeting as a lawyer at Economic and Investment Bank.Bulgartabac is the only Bulgarian company that is in a position to become multinational and compete successfully with the leaders in the branch, Deputy Premier and Minister of Economy Nikolai Vassilev said. His words are probably a sign that the idea for the holding's divestment as a whole and not in self-contained parts is currently prevailing. The strategy for the company's sale will be ready within a month, Mr. Vassilev specified.Mr. Vassilev expects the new managerial team to manage the company professionally and prepare it for privatisation. This, according to the Deputy Premier, means that the managers should raise the holding's price by USD50MN over the next six months. However, Mr. Vassilev admitted, he did not know the present price of Bulgartabac. On his part, the Executive Director of the Privatisation Agency Apostol Apostolov hinted that up to 20% of the holding's capital would be probably put up for sale on the Stock Exchnage.Another task, set to Bulgartabac's directors by Mr. Vassilev, is to continue the audits of the companies within the holding's structure. Georgi Kostov's experience will be quite valuable, the Deputy PM underlined. And the presence of Mr. Porozhanov on the BoD suggests that the Finnace Ministry's experience will be also used when assessing the injuries inflicted to the branch. According to Mr. Vassilev, all contracts for distribution should be examined, cases of smuggled cigarettes should be investigated, and it should be checked if the holding has financed political parties. The State's representative at Bulgartabac's general meeting Kaloyan Ninov voted against releaving of responsibility the company's former BoD, headed the ex-vice minister of economy Hristo Mihailovski. His vote was decisive as it is equal to the State's share participation in the holding's capital, which is 92 per cent. The international auditing company Ernst Young Afa was nominated expert accountant of Bulgartabac.