OPPONENTS TO PLOVDIV FAIR PRIVATIZATION WANT LEGAL AMENDMENTS
Five members of the parliamentary group of Coalition for Bulgaria asked for immediate repair of the new privatization law, adopted four months ago. The amendment proposed by Blagovest Sendov, Georgi Pirinski, Atanas Paparizov, Peter Mutafchiev and Ognyan Saparev aims at putting International Fair in the list of commercial companies with over 50% state ownership which are not subject to privatization. They explained that this will allow the state to conduct a specific policy in the future development of the company which they say is a national value.The reaction of these MPs came as a result of the Ministry of Economy's actions which initiated the privatization of the Plovdiv Fair. Last Friday the ministry sent a letter to the managers of the company signed by the deputy minister Kaloyan Ninov. 49% of the capital of the state-owned company will be offered on the stock exchange in return to compensatory notes and investment vouchers.In the letter, deputy minister Ninov gave instructions on the preparation of the company before it is offered on the capital market, learnt the BANKER weekly from one of the two executive directors, Yordan Radev. No deadline was fixed. The managers of International Fair, which became public in June, must provide the company with an identification number and register it on the stock exchange and in the State Securities Exchange Commission (SSEC). Before it is put in one of the pools with ten more companies, the company must also have a legal and a financial analysis. It is still unclear who will be authorized to make the expertise - either a competition will be announced for due-diligence, or the Privatization Agency (PA) will choose intermediaries to sell the state-owned stakes in the 115 companies. The letter arrived in Plovdiv just before another debate on the advantages and disadvantages of the privatization of the profitable company was held in the press office of the fair.According to the participants in the forum - MPs from opposition parties, former directors of the Plovdiv fair, businessmen and civil organizations, there are only two European fairs that are private - in Berlin and Vienna. The participants definitely oppose the privatization of one of the emblems of the town and remind that Europe's largest fair - that in Hanover, is owned by four shareholders - two municipalities and two provinces, while the fair in Thessaloniki is 100% owned by the state. Dr. Vassil Panitza, municipal leader of the Union of Democratic Forces and MP in the 39th National Assembly, gave quite a gloomy forecast by saying that the National Movement Simeon II will lose much of its rating in Plovdiv if the sale comes to conclusion.