NAVIBULGAR REFUSES TO PAY BILLS OF VARNA SHIPYARD
Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar) blocked the decisions taken by the general meeting of the creditors of the Varna Shipyard. Navibulgar's lawyers declared they would appeal against one specific decision. The last point on the agenda stipulates that the new owner is obliged to pay the bills for security services, electricity and water supply, fire-precaution measures, accumulated since April 12. That's the date on which the order authorizing Navibulgar to become the actual owner of the shipyard was issued. Right after the meeting, Navibulgar Executive Director Geno Genov said that his company did not intend to pay those bills because it has not yet become the real owner. The problem is growing more complicated, however. According to the Commercial Code, when an appeal has been filed against any decision of the creditors general meeting all of its decisions have to be blocked. That is why the method for estimating the shipyard assets, acquired after November 30, 2001, cannot start operating.On November 30, 2001 the general meeting of the creditors decided to continue the shipbuilding process, so the plant has both registered some revenues and bought materials that are still to be assessed and sold. The creditors authorized the trustees in bankruptcy of the company to choose an evaluator among the companies licensed by the Privatisation Agency (PA). The remuneration of the evaluator cannot exceed BGN10,000.The most important issue on the agenda was whether companies that have occupied with graving since November 30 should be compensated. The assembly authorized the trustees in bankruptcy to make payments due under the agreements signed with subcontractors and suppliers for the repair of two ships - Kondok-2 and Voyager. The BGN400,000 due has not been paid yet.Next week the Varna Court of Appeal is going to consider the decisions of the creditors assembly. Most workers who are also creditors of the shipyard arrived to the meeting with the hope to get their wages for April and May. They did not hide their disappointment with the course of events.They left feeling that they hadn't needed to attend that meeting. However, more careful observers noticed that the relations between the two trustees in bankruptcy grew cooler. One of them said that the list for satisfying the creditors' claims was not ready yet. Still, he expects it to be shown in the building of the Varna Regional Court next week.Revenues from sold assets and property rights of the Varna Shipyard amount to BGN35.5MN. Most probably money will only be paid to first-class creditors - the Bank Consolidation Company (BCC) and the Central Cooperative Bank (CCB), whose receivables go well beyond that amount. Meanwhile, Navibulgar managers flatly denied the information that they have held negotiations to resell the shipyard. According to the plans, the shipyard will become a division of Navibulgar. The statement sounds strange, to say the least, considering the announcement made by Vice Premier and Minister of Economy Nikolai Vassilev last Friday: five companies are applying to acquire the enterprise. Obviously, there are differences between the governmental and the merely commercial policy of the company. The opinions also differ on an interdepartmental level. Thirty per cent of Navibulgar will be listed on the Stock Exchange by the end of the year, said Mr. Vassilev. The Deputy Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Krassimira Martinova, who is in charge of the water transport, told the BANKER weekly that it was still early to predict how things would go on. The hesitation of the principal of Navibulgar is somewhat embarassing for the investors' community as well as for the holders of compensation instruments, because Navibulgar's shares were among the few really precious securities they hoped to buy on the Stock Exchange.