Банкеръ Weekly



An appeal against the tender for the sale of a municipal area is about to hamper the Spanish company Keros Ceramica in its intention to invest EUR21MN in the construction of a ceramic tiles factory, located on the territory of the Rousse industrial zone.
Keros Ceramica, established in 1994, is among the European leaders in the production of ceramic tiles for furbishing and construction purposes. Therefore, on February 27, 2006 its Bulgarian subsidiary Keros - Bulgaria received a Second Class Investment Certificate in compliance with the Investment Promotion Act, officially issued by InvestBulgaria Agency.
The last condition for building the enterprise was to find out suitable grounds for its construction. That is why a tender for sale of immovable property - 112.652 dca of municipal land in Rousse's new Industrial Park - was held on April 28. Two more firms in addition to Keros took part in it - Reto 2003 from Veliko Tarnovo and Intervo Bulgaria from Sofia. The initial purchase price was set at EUR8/sq m. Some ten days later, on May 9, Keros - Bulgaria was announced a winner after offering to pay EUR1.8MN. Logically, the investments of EUR21MN in the construction of the new ceramic tiles factory, guaranteed by the Spanish company, tipped the balance to its favour.
Everything was OK till then. But Reto 2003 appealed against the procedure and on May 18 a team of the Rousse Regional Court, chaired by Elga Tsoneva cancelled the fulfilment of the order of the town's Mayor Bozhiday Yotov, declaring the Spanish winners in the tender. According to the magistrates, the fulfilment of that order was not sufficiently well motivated.
Reto 2003 was registered on March 23, 2004 in the Veliko Tarnovo court with a capital of BGN5,000, which has not been deposited yet. The company is represented solely by Maria Valchanova, 33-year-old.
The appeal practically impedes the investment in the ceramic tiles factory where about 500 people were to be employed. A new chain of court arguments are now ahead, while the Spanish will wait for the problem to be settled within two weeks and will afterwards go to Romania perhaps. It's sad because we are repelling a serious investor. I'll be watching closely what Reto 2003 will be doing from now on and I'll try to convince the people from Keros to wait for the outcome of the lawsuit, Mayor Yotov commented.
Obviously, he will have to show quite serious rhetorical gift in order to convince the Spanish wait for the court's ruling which according to the usual Bulgarian practice could drag on for several years. And Keros will be hardly ready to waste so much time when having an alternative option - neighbouring Romania.

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