MINISTER VASSILEV'S BGN30MN FAREWELL DEAL
Nikolay Vassilev's notable activity as a Minister of Transport did not stop in spite of the collective resignation handed in by the Cabinet of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha two weeks ago. On July 20, he attended the signing of an agreement by the Bulgarian Posts and the German Siemens for the construction of a new exchange and sorting centre. The contract was signed by the Posts' Chief Executive Director Aksinia Slavcheva and the Siemens representatives Stoyan Neshev and Temenuga Markova.The necessity of building such modern equipment has been discussed for a long time, the minister said. I think it is coming at least ten years later. That's why we authorized the Bulgarian Posts new management a few months ago to develop this project as a priority. We did not believe the procedure could be completed so fast, but apparently Mrs. Slavcheva's team has done its work well. The construction of the sorting centre will help for accelerating the letter processing and improving the quality of delivery. Siemens is expected to develop and supply modern technological equipment for automatic processing of standard consignments (not parcels). It will include a reading, video coding and preliminary sorting machine, as well as a finely sorting machine. They will operate at a speed not lower than 30,000 consignments per hour.We've implemented analogical projects in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, China, Brazil and Russia. I'm sure Bulgaria will have a logistics centre in two years that will meet all European requirements, Siemens Manager for Bulgaria Stoyan Neshev said.The total amount of the investment goes beyond BGN30MN. The Bulgarian Posts paid over BGN1.6MN for the 25-dka ground in the quarter of Nova Vrazhdebna alone (the quarter is located among the Hemus and Trakiya highways and the Sofia Airport). BGN450,000 has been allocated for preliminary research and measurement, and another BGN10.9MN will go for construction and installation works. Equipment will cost BGN17.9MN, Aksinia Slavcheva explained. Glavbolgarstroy will be Siemens' subcontractor.The necessary funds will be supplied with a credit from HVB Bank Biochim against the mortgage of three estates of the posts (including the ground of the sorting centre) and financial lease of the equipment in HVB Leasing. The two agreements will be signed next week, Mrs. Slavcheva added but refused to give more details. According to information of the BANKER weekly, the credit will be paid off in seven years.The executor election procedure in accordance with the Public Procurement Act was announced in early April 2005. Siemens was the only candidate that submitted application documents. Bulgarian Posts managers decided that part of the German company's offer might be renegotiated. That's why a new direct negotiation procedure was initiated at the beginning of June.Discussions were also held on constructing the sorting centre in the building of the Bulgarian Posts which is situated next to the central railway station. However, Siemens managers insisted on locating the centre near a road as trains are more rarely used for parcels transportation. That estate is now offered for sale, because the building is too big (trains can enter its underground floors) and a serious investor is needed.Bulgarian Posts reported an over BGN9MN profit for the first half of 2005.