REHABILITATION PLAN UNDER DRAFT AT BALKAN AIRLINES
The trustees in bankruptcy of Balkan Airlines are drafting a rehabilitation plan for the national air-carrier, the BANKER weekly learned. Most incredible speculations about its contents are made at the airlines' headquarters, at the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, and at the Finance Ministry.
It is said that the rehabilitation plan projects transformation of the creditors' receivables into Balkan shares. Practically, it is said, this could turn into a partial nationalization of the air-carrier as the State is Balkan's largest creditor. In case these speculations prove right, Bulgaria might again have two state-owned airlines - Balkan and Hemus Air. Although the purchase deal on the second air-carrier was finalized and the entire price was paid, the sale would be litigated in court, pundits claim. Albeit it would be difficult to declare the deal null and void, there is such a possibility, informed sources say. In such a case the two airlines will merge into a single company under the rehabilitation plan for Balkan, and the State might add about one third of Sofia Airport's assets to the capital of the company.
In the beginning of August Balkan's two trustees in bankruptcy - Ralitsa Topchieva and Vladimir Petkov - filed to the Sofia City Court the final list of creditors' claimed and acknowledged receivables. The drafting and submission of that document is regulated by art. 690, para 4, item 1 of the Commercial Code. The final version of the list includes filed claims against disputable receivables, which have been acknowledged by the trustees in bankruptcy. The court should extend a ruling on both the list and all the 45 claims.
The magistrates of the Sofia City Court will hear the case on September 4 and 5. Their verdict will be final and there will be no appeal. Those who are displeased at it can lay their claims through the so-called determination procedure, but won't cancel the insolvency procedures.
The aggregate size of receivables, claimed by creditors in advance, which amounted to BGL209MN, went up to BGL214.3MN after the additional claims, and have already been acknowledged by the trustees in bankruptcy. The difference is due to several accepted claims for changes. The biggest among them are those, placed by the Air Traffic Control Service and by the State.
By stopping services on February 14, 2001, the airline badly injured its image, and it would be difficult to regain reputaion, branch experts comment.
Balkan's operational profit is currently USD224,000. The airline will be rehabilitated by the year-end, the trustee in bankruptcy Ralitsa Topchieva is adamant.