SG EXPRESSBANK EMPLOYEES BECOME SHAREHOLDERS
The BoD Chairman of the French bank group Societe Generale Daniel Bouton and his team decided to celebrate in Bulgaria the 140th anniversary of the financial institution's establishment . For the occasion a special presentation for the mass media was organized on May 4, 2004 at the elite seaside resort Riviera, near the city of Varna where its local subsidiary SG EXPRESSBANK is headquartered. The journalists were acquainted with the operation of the French group and its bank in Bulgaria, in which Societe Generale holds a 98% stake. At the presentation Mr. Daniel Bouton broke the news that as of May 5, 2005 the employees of SG EXPRESSBANK will have the opportunity to buy shares of the bank group at preferential prices. Until recently this was a privilege only for Societe Generale officers. But as of May 5 the people employed in SG EXPRESSBANK will be also able to acquire securities of the group at prices which are 20% lower than the average of their market quotations for the last twenty sessions on the stock exchange. Currently, this value is EUR72/apiece. This means that the bank's officers could get the paper at EUR57.6/share, Mr. Bouton explained. At the presentation he underlined that thanks to that incentive scheme, the employees of Societe Generale Group already hold stocks worth EUR2.5BN. According to Mr. Bouton, in order to diversify the services offered by SG EXPRESSBANK, it will set up a leasing company in Bulgaria by the year-end, to finance the purchase of machines, equipment, technologies, computers and vehicles. The only question which Mr. Bouton and his team did not reply was if the headquarters of the group's Bulgarian subsidiary would be relocated from Varna to Sofia. Under the contract for the purchase of EXPRESSBANK, signed in 1999, Societe Generale undertook a commitment not to relocate its head office within five years. This term expires in the end of 2004 and it is quite logical for Societe Generale Group to apply now to the BNB for a change of the registration of its Varna-based subsidiary. In the evening after the presentation Mr. Bouton gave an official dinner to celebrate the anniversary of Societe Generale. It should be mentioned that the group was born on May 4, 1864, the date of the authorisation decree signed by Napoleon III at a glamorous ceremony in Chateau de Tuileries. In the spirit of Societe Generale's aristocratic traditions, the celebration of its 140th anniversary was held at the Euxinograde palace near Varna. Dimiter Kadijski, Director of the BANKER weekly, dined with the executives of Societe Generale Group and was present at the cutting of the birthday cake. That privilege was also enjoyed by about fifty heads and owners of big corporate clients of SG EXPRESSBANK. Among them were the managers of the Zagorka brewery Dimiter Alexiev, of Devnya Cement Jesus Ortis, of the Albena Tourist Holding Krassimir Stanev, the BoD member of the Odessos shipyard Zlatko Bakalov, and the Manager of the Maritsa Iztok III Energy Company Enrico Viale.