THE END OF SMALL SHARES IN AGROPOLYCHIM
The odyssey of the offer for buying out the minor shares of the Devnya-based fertilizer plant Agropolychim is coming to its crucial stage. On February 12, 2001 the major owner - Acid Fertilizers - will be free to announce the opening of the procedure in two major daily newspapers. It was facilitated by the fact that the Council of Ministers has not yet appointed new members to the State Securities and Exchange Commission (SSEC).
On January 22, 2001 the consortium, registered in Washington D.C., owner of 93.9% of Agropolychim, sent a letter to SSEC, requesting the re-opening of the tender offer registration procedure. According to the stipulations of the Public Offering of Securities Act, it can be published in case it is not vetoed by the Commission members within 14 working days after its placement.
On February 1 Radoslav Tsonchev, SSEC Chairman, asked the US company to postpone the opening of the procedure at least till the formation of the new commission body and its first session. The offer of Acid Fertilisers should be discussed at this session.
The major owner will most probably respect Mr. Tsonchev's request, said Kamen Kolchev, Chairman of Elana Investment Intermidiary Board of Directors, to the Banker weekly. It can hardly be expected that the new SSEC expert body will reject the offer. Kolchev argumented his statement with the fact that on December 4, 2000 Varna District Court rejected SSEC's claim to announce null and void Agropolychim's General Assembly decision to increase its capital.
As the Banker has informed on several occasions, the original reason for the conflict between SSEC and the fertilizer plant is the disputable share issue, by which its capital was increased almost eight times. Thus the share of Acid Fertilisers jumped from 63% to 93.9%. According to SSEC that was not a correct act, so it was not inclined on approving the tender offer. That is an offer made by Acid Fertilisers to the small Agropolychim shareholders to buy out their 1 013 069 shares at the price of BGL0.38 apiece. The offer will be valid for 30 days after publication in the media, and the amount to be paid by the major owner to acquire all shares will be about BGL385,000. Then the consortium between Union Miniere and Hardland Investment, registered in Washington D.C. will request the writing off of Agropolychim from the public companies register, and its papers will be withdrawn from the stock exchange.
A number of former privatisation funds, banks and even off-shore companies own stakes of several thousand shares each. State still owns 3.56% of the plant's worth. Out of them 450 283 shares (2.71%) were offered at the 15 round of the mass privatisation.