PRIVATISATION AGENCY REPORTS SLOW SALES
Negotiated payments from divestment in the first nine months of 2001 amounted to BGL97,408,000 only, the Privatisation Agency (PA) reported. If the result is not drastically changed this will be the worst performance of the responisble authorities (mainly the PA and the branch ministries) since 1993. The reason hardly lies in the lack of enterprises for sale. Rather, the former management of the PA, headed by Levon Hampartsumyan, delayed some big divestment deals in the period around the parliamentary elections on the insistance of economists from the National Movement Simeon II. Thus, the sale of Sofia Film was effected in the beginning of October, which means that the proceeds from deal would be reported for the last quarter of the year. The deal on the Sopot-based bearings plant (a self-contained part of the defence industry's Vazov Mechanical Engineering Works) dragged on, too. The privatisation of the National Insurance Institute (DZI), details for whose sale have been discussed for months on end with a consortium between the Israeli company TBI and the MEBO, is likely to fail.The changes in privatisation methods (promoted by the new Government) from negotiations with potential buyers to public tenders or competitions, postponed some submissions of offers for a later stage. For that reason the sale of the Plovdiv-based cosmetics manufacturer Alen Mak will be probably delayed till the beginning of 2001 at the earliest. The deal on the Interantional Youth Centre of Primosrsko, managed by the Ministry of Economy, will be probably closed also about that time.The number of privatisation contracts has also decreased considerably as compared to previous years. The PA has closed just 36 deals, while all bodies autorized to effect divestment have signed 136 sale deals only. This is far beyond the record struck in 1999 when a total of 1,214 enterprise changed ownership.