SHIPYARD TO BE SEPARATED FROM NAVIBULGAR
The assets of the Varna Shipyard will be excluded from the balance sheet of Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar), the BANKER weekly learnt from a reliable source. This means that the shipyard will be sold separately, most probably as a subsidiary of the shipyard. Navibulgar's press attache Vladimir Konstantinov mentioned that the sale procedure might be carried out by the Privatisation Agency (PA) and not as until now by Navibulgar's principal - the Transport Ministry. However, a representative of the PA denied that any talks on the matter have been held with the agency's management. The new strategy for the divestment of the Varna Shipyard will be officially announced next week, the Transport Ministry's press centre promised. The former privatisation procedure was cancelled on August 12 after Baker Investment, registered in Liechtenstein, withdrew from the deal. The company had won the tender for participation in a joint venture (JV) for the management of the bankrupt shipyard's assets. Under the terms of the contract the off-shore company was to aquire 75% of the shipyard's capital, and the balance of 25% had to remain in Navibulgar's hands, which purchased all assets of the shipyard last year. A week ago, a committee, especially established with the Ministry of Transport for the privatisation of the Varna Shipyard, refused to hold negotiations with AKB Fores, which rated second in the tender. The company's Deputy Executive Director Ivailo Marinov said that AKB Fores would sue Navibulgar for pettifogging the deal and missed benefits. But according to Kamen Kirov, Chairman of Navibulgar's BoD, this could hardly happen as the tender terms explicitely stipulated that Navibulgar could cancel the procedure at any time. An official letter was sent to the corporation on August 18, by which it was notified about Navibulgar's decision and the number of the bank account was demanded for remitting the deposit of BGN500,000, paid for the tender. According to me, the shipyard's assets won't be sold by the end of the incumbent Government's mandate and Navibulgar will go bankrupt, Mr. Marinov added.The motives for eliminating AKB Fores from the tender were explained by representatives of Navibulgar's new BoD and of the Transport Ministry at a special press conference in Varna. They justified their decision by the motive that the company, headed by Nikolay Banev, was not sufficiently experienced in ship-building and ship-repairing. This explanation sounds strange, as the committee was acquianted with that fact, but it nevertheless rated AKB Fores in the tender. According to Mr. Kirov, the aim of the new strategy for the sale of the bankrupt shipyard's assets is to soften the conditions for its divestment. The requirement for the shipyard to post a turnover of USD120MN within three years after its privatisation and for the bidder to block in the Central Depository one third of the 75% stake of the capital of the JV (between Navibulgar and the buyer) that would be managing the shipyard's assets, have repelled serious investors. The new procedure won't stress so much on the financiaal requirements to the candidates.