NOTHING OF BULSTRAD HAS BEEN PUT UP FOR SALE DESPITE THE RUMOURS
Nissim Zarfati, Executive Director of TBI, to the BANKER weeklyMr. Zarfati, in insurance circles rumours have been circulating recently that Bulstrad will be put up for sale and various presumptions about the possible reasons for that are made. What is the truth? Does TBI have any such intentions?- There is nothing of the kind. We are neither selling Bulstrad, nor any of the other companies. Why should we be setting up a healthcare insurance company if we intend to sell? So, the answer is no.I'll tell where such rumours could originate from. Our Iraeli parent company Cheikardan is preparing to sell its shares on the stock exchange in Amserdam. The company effects 60% of its operations outside Israel. In addition to TBI Holding (ТВIН), it has one more big company - GTC - which invests in real estates. Kardan's shareholders believe it is more advantageous to sell the company's shares on the stock markets in Europe than in Israel. The business climate in Israel has not been good in the last two or three years due to the conflict there. On the other hand, the fact that we have many foreign shareholders is one more motive for offering the parent company's paper mainly in Amsterdam, and only a small share - in Israel. The supervision on the stock market in Amsterdam has specific requirements towards us when effecting this operation. Due diligence of our companies is being carried out. Their assets and activities not only in Bulgaria, but also in other countries where we are operating, are being checked. From my personal experience I know that when such inspections are made, rumours are spread that there will be a sale. But we are not seliing anything. Inspections are going on not only at the insurance and reinsurance company Bulstrad, but also in the pension insurance company Doverie and in Bulstrad-DSK-Life AD. But the only reason is the one I've already mentioned.Can you tell us something new about your operations and intentions that would be interesting both for the clients and for the other insurance companies?- You know that we have directed our attention to healthcare insurance. We believe we would be able to respond to the high demand on that market. The system in Bulgaria and in other countries has not been functioning well so far. We can offer to the clients such services of a better quality. Currently, we are in the stage of signing contracts with hospitals. We have made a decision to increase the capital of the healthcare insurance company from BGN500,000 to BGN1MN. We project to open a centre of healthcare services that will be operating by the year-end.In July we'll mark ten years of TBI's presence in Bulgaria. Bulstrad is also the first insurance company in in Bulgaria whose premium proceeds exceeded BGN100MN in 2002. The results for the first quarter of 2003 show an increase as compared to the same period of last year. These facts indicate an upward trend in the company's development, although Bulstrad is no more a monopolist on the market of the Green Card insurance. A client of any of our companies may count on quality services in all other companies within the group. The new service we presently offer to the customers of Bulstrad and Doverie is release of loans at preferential terms within 24 hours. The insterest is already huge and we'll have to increase the initially planned volume of funds in order to service all applicants. Our clients do not have reasons to worry, because the news about listing our company's paper on a big European stock exchange is good, not bad. We are not selling anything from our portfolio. Why should we be selling before we have started to reap the harvest of our operation?