SUNNY BEACH WON'T BE LIQUIDATED
The State is not planning liquidation of Sunny Beach AD, the BANKER weekly learnt. The issue became topical last week after the Privatisation Agency (PA) offered to several ministries to close down 36 companies under their supervision, the resort company among them. According to the Ministry of Economy, however, the PA is not entitled to make such a proposal, therefore the liquidation of Sunny Beach won't be discussed. The ministry holds 75% of the company's capital and the balance of 25% is in the hands of 3,800 shareholders. The biggest of them is Sunny Beach Holding with 10%-plus. The liquidation of Sunny Beach has been discussed for a long time, but the considerable difficulties for the sale of its assets hinder its realization. After the big sale of hotels in the seaside resort which started back in 1996 and was completed in 2002, only the electricity distribution network, the water and sewage facilities, roads and alleys, hotel Crystal, and several more buidings, remained within Sunny Beach AD. According to the company's report for last year, it owns land worth BGN 3.2MN and buildings worth BGN5.9MN. The value of the equipment is the highest - BGN58.3MN. A few more beaches of 500 sq m each have been added to the resort's assets. Moreover, Sunny Beach AD is owned by the eponymous trademark for services, whose licence expires on Аugust 23, 2005, but its sale is the least of worries. The company participates as well in CGB-Sunny Beach CO (51%) and Rezinter-Sunny Beach (50%). However, there are legal arguments regarding these stakes. That is why they are not included in the assets. Multiple restitution claims were filed to the company in 2002. We have already won many of them, but there are still unsettled yet, Petya Bakalova, director of relations with investors in Sunny Beach AD, announced. It is due to these restitution claims that the company is still unable to sell the single hotel it owns. The sale of infrastructure will be most difficult. Despite the negotiations which the management of Sunny Beach AD holds with Electricity Distribution of Stara Zagora, no deal has been closed yet. Last year an argument broke out between Sunny Beach AD and Electricity Distribution of Stara Zagora. The latter was licensed by the State Commission for Energy Regulation (SCER) to transfer electricity in the resort, against which Sunny Beach AD as owner of the distribution network filed an appeal. Ultimately, a 5-member team of the Supreme Administrative Court ruled the licence null and void and obliged the SCER to issue a licence to the owner of infrastructure. Now the option is that the resort sells the electricity distribution network. Under the Act on Energy and Energy Efficiency, Electricity Distribution of Stara Zagora is obliged to buy the assets from Sunny Beach AD at market prices. For the time being, however, they have neither been agreed, nor has the method for their setting been specified. Independent evaluators have assessed the electricity distribution network at BGN31.6MN. If the Stara Zagora company gives up the purchase deal, that part of the infrastructure should be separated as a self-contained company, as was the case with Golden Sands AD.The problem with the sale of the water and sewage network is even more complicated. The company's managers have not yet held negotiations with any potential buyers, as it is not clear what the utility includes. The question is if the land (road and alleys) should be offered for sale together with the water pipes. The resort is currently serviced by the water and sewage company of Bourgas, which pays a set fee to Sunny Beach. Here again one of the options is to set up a separate company to manage the facilities. But according to the Chairman of the Union of Hotel Owners in Sunny Beach Elenena Ivanova, the example of Golden Sands is extremely bad, as there the new owner has not invested a single lev in the development of the resort. Another possibility is to sell the utilities to the Municipality of Nessebar. Some time ago hoteliers in the resort also wanted to take part in the privatisation of infrastructure. For that purpose the company Sunny Beach 2003 was established last June 2003, but their ambitions have obviously cooled off. Ms. Ivanova announced in front of the BANKER weekly that hotel owners were interested only in the roads and alleys.