Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

SETTLEMENT OF VIDACHIM'S LIABILITIES DELAYED

The Rousse-based company Pristigroup-Water Construction, which bought in July 70% of the capital of the Vidin-based chemical works Vidachim at the token price of BGN1, undertaking to pay off its BGN68.8MN liabilities, has not yet closed a contract for rescheduling the enterprise's debt to the State, the BANKER weekly learned. Under the privatisation contract, within 75 days after its signing, agreements for the payment of liabilities to the various state structures (the State reserve, for example) had to be closed. Negotiations are still going on and a procedure for signing an agreement with the Finance Ministry is in progress, Pristigroup's lawyer Angel Savov explained to the BANKER weekly. According to him, this is not a serious problem, as a panel of experts has been set up to agree the amount of installments and the schedule for their payment. Pristigroup has demanded that the payment of liabilities should be effected after a certain grace period, say five years. Mr. Savov claims that it is impossible to begin remitting the installments immediately, because Vidachim's buyer has to invest considerable funds for recommisioning the enterprise.However, the lack of an agreement with the Finance Ministry makes pointless whatever official negotiations with the private creditors. Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) has even initiated a lawsuit against the cancelled procedure (after the signing of the privatisation contract) for adjudicating Vidachim insolvent. The bank's managers believe that the financial institution could more easily get back the BGN5MN, extended as a loan to the enterprise in 1996, by selling out its assets. But no date for hearing the case has been fixed so far. Meanwhile, the deadline for settling the relations with private creditors is also drawing near. Under the privatisation contract, this should be done by November 18, 2002.The good news regarding Vidachim is that by the end of the month the thermoelectric power plant (TPP), which is a self-contained part of the chemical works, will be recommissioned by the end of this month. According to Angel Savov, the TPP will be at first operating only symbolically as it does not generate energy, and there are no clients for the steam outside Vidachim's system. It will be useful only when its automobile tyres works is put back in operation. Otherwise, the steam will go into the atmosphere and the only result will be the pollution of Vidin's air.

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