WHO WILL FORGIVE KAMET'S LIQUIDATORS?
Unlike the noisy privatisation shows and far from the eyes of the common public, a somewhat strange drama is being played, with a likely fatal end.The surprise will be a result of the series of far-sighted managerial decisions, made by the Ministry of Economy since May 2002. Seven months ago the Deputy Premier and Minister of Economy Nikolai Vassilev announced that the deal worth BGN40.7MN for the sale of the Italian mini-plant Danielli, owned by the Pernik-based enterprise Kamet, won't be effected. It was explained that the contract signed on January 16, 2002 between Kamet and the consortium of Russian companies Hansatiko (registered in Finland), picked up to buy the equipment, would be cancelled. The reason was that the consortium demanded to change the way of payment - instead by a bank transfer to effect it by a letter of credit. This was not accepted by the Ministry of Economy, but Mr. Vassilev promised that very soon the Privatisation Agency (PA) and not Kamet's managerial team would open a new tender procedure for Danielli's sale.However, such a tender has not been invited yet. But the updating of the Italian production line's evaluation is ready and the information memorandum about the imported equipment (purchased by Bulgaria for DEM129MN in 1989) is presently being prepared. Danielli's sale is the only chance for the survival of the insolvent Kamet. The trouble is that since 1995 this will be the seventh attempt to sell the Italian line, whose price is drastically going down. Moreover, Danielli has been in private hands for ten months now. The BANKER weekly has a document, signed on February 15, 2002, which reads:On the basis of the sale contract between the two sides, signed on January 16, 2002, this protocol for the delivery of the metallurgical line Danielli was drawn between Kamet EAD, Bulgaria and the production line's buyer Hantastiko, Finland, about the following: The buyer of the line has paid in advance to the seller DEM100,000. Against that sum the seller transfers the ownership on the special consignment No 19 (according to the Italian numeration), containing Shear type CMR250/500 - a set with a lubricating system and a hydraulic system. The consignment becomes property of the buyer and is to be kept by the seller till its transportation. The consortium practically began effecting payment of the deal on Danielli in the beginning of this year. Hansatiko's representatives in Bulgaria have officially informed PA's Executive Director Apostol Apostolov about this situation. In addition to the money paid for the special consignment No 19, the consortium has also paid USD350,000 for its participation in the Danielli venture and does not agree to lose it. But that's exactly what the Minsitry of Economy wants. A short letter was sent on June 25, 2002 to Hansatiko's Manager - the Russian citizen Alexander Ivanov. It informs him that due to non-fulfillment of the contract for Danielli's sale, Kamet EAD cancels it, keeping the deposited USD350,000. It is curious that the letter has been sent on behalf of Kamet, but it is not on an official form of the company. The letter was signed by the enterprise's Exectutive Director Ivan Ivanov, appointed on the same day to replace Valentin Peshev, who was fired a week earlier. Thus, the decision for keeping the deposit was most probably made not by Kamet EAD, which is the formal side of the contract, but directly by the Economy Ministry which is the principal of the bankrupt plant.In end-November Kamet was headed by Nikolai Traichev, who until then was director of the private company Berg Balkan. Perhaps the Economy Ministry has failed to notice that thanks to it and to the other company - NIPKITOX, which rented the production workshops in the state-owned enterprise, it lost more than BGN300,000 from unpaid rent. On November 27 Mr. Traichev was invited by Hansatiko to ensure to their representatives permanent access to the part of Danielli, purchased by them, with a view to the forthcoming dislocation of the private property. Last week Mr. Traichev began negtiations Hansatiko's representatives in Bulgaria. Two options for a way out of the situation have been discussed. After Danielli's sale Hansatiko should either get back the money it paid for a part of the Italian equipment and the deposit, or Kamet should be leased to Hansatiko until it gets back the due money. The two proposals were presented to the Ministry of Economy but it has not yet announced its stance.