SPECIAL SERVICES TO OUST SHARKS FROM VARNA SHIPYARD
Six potential buyers of the Varna Shipyard have so far purchased memorandums for participation in the public sale of its assets. This was announced by the shipyard's trustee in bankruptcy Dimitar Smilenov after a meeting with Deputy Premier and Minister of Economy Nikolai Vassilev on Tuesday (March 12). The list of candidate-buyers includes the Russian company Uralmash, the Singaporean Jurong, the Indonesian Seagasko, the Ukrainian BMZ-Diesel, the American Hogan Marine and the Greek Yani Zemas, who is a representative of a group of Greek ship-owners. However, not a single offer has been written in the bidding list so far. Minister Vassilev assumes that if any application is submitted, it will most probably happen on April 2, the tender's last day. He also added that letters have been sent to all the ten interested investors and that all information would be provided to any future candidate. Letters read that buyers will be treated with just respect and honour by the state and it is underlined that no speculative interest will be allowed to prevail. Despite the lack of a proper candidate-sifting mechanism, Minister Vassilev announced there was a way to exclude from the bidding all candidate-buyers who did not intend to build ships. Yet he did not reveal how. Nevertheless, Mr. Smilenov said to the BANKER weekly that the winner would be the candidate with the highest bidding and that all declarations for further development of shipbuilding were only preferable. Insiders comment that Minister Vassilev's confidence can only be explained by probable intervention of the Special Services. On Tuesday Mr. Vassilev held talks with the heads of Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar) and admitted its possible participation in the sale. Informed sources from the Ministry of Economy even shared that it would be better if no candidates turned up at the tender so that more profitable for the State schemes could be considered. Yet Navibulgar's direct participation is much complicated as the company has been undergoing privatisation proceedings for two years. So, the state-owned Navibulgar can only order ships to be build.Announcement for the sale of Varna Shipyard's assets has already been published in the Lloyd's List - the world's most prestigious issue of the sector. The shipyard's minimum price is about BGN32MN (80% of the evaluation of PriceWaterhouseCoopers). This means that only guaranteed receivables could be collected, explains the second trustee in bankruptcy Vladimir Tzachev. All creditors will be able to collect the principal of their receivables against BGN60MN. Such price, however, will hardly be negotiated, so workers will most probably not be paid their salaries.If neither buyer appears at the tender, another meeting of the creditors will be summoned and the future proceeding will be specified, says Smilenov. There are two possibilities - either the price is cut down by 10% or a new tender, sale in parts or talks with potential investors are organized. Now we need three weeks of patience, concluded Minister Vassilev. He admitted he would welcome any candidate-buyer as the state was not in a position to choose.