FOLLOW-ON INVESTMENT BY NBG VENTURE CAPITAL IN DOVERIE BRICO IN BULGARIA
NBG Balkan Fund Ltd., a private equity fund advised by National NBG Venture Capital, has recently made an additional equity investment in Doverie Brico AD bringing its total investment in the Bulgarian company to approximately DEM5MN (EUR2.5MN). Under a franchise agreement with Mr. Bricolage, one of the leading Do-It-Yourself (DIY) retail chains in France, Doverie Brico plans to develop a chain of large DIY retail stores in Bulgaria and other neighbouring countries. The lead investor in Doverie Brico is Doverie Capital AD - an affiliate of Doverie United Holding AD, one of the largestBulgarian holding companies. Mr. Bricolage holds a small stake in Doverie Brico and also provides management support. The first store opened successfully in the centre of Sofia in November 2000 and the company is now in the process of rolling out additional stores.Mr. Andrei Evtimov, Executive Director of Doverie United Holding AD, stated: We are delighted that NBG Venture Capital has decided to exercise its option to increase its investment in Doverie Brico alongside the other major shareholders. The first store has exceeded our original expectations and is already profitable after less than a year of operation. We are now looking forward to opening a second store in Plovdiv in the next few months, as well as other stores both in Bulgaria and abroad in the near future.Mr. Leonidas Tsibouris, Investment Director of NBG Venture Capital, noted: We are impressed with the performance of the first store and have decided to make a follow-on investment in Doverie Brico to help fund the company's growth plans both in Bulgaria and in the neighbouring countries. We are currently in talks with other private equity investors to inject additional capital in the company in order to accelerate its regional expansion.Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Managing Director of NBG Venture Capital, commented: We are encouraged by the positive start of our recent entry into private equity in the Balkans. We would now like to intensify our investment activity not only in Bulgaria and the Balkans, but also in other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. We are considering increasing our capital commitment for private equity investment in the region as well as enhancing our local presence, either by establishing local offices or by entering into agreements with local partners.NBG Venture Capital is the private equity/venture capital arm of the National Bank of Greece, the largest Greek financial institution with total assets exceeding EUR50BN. NBG Venture Capital advises private equity funds with total capital commitments in excess of EUR100MN. NBG Venture Capital considers investments primarily in Greece, Central and Eastern Europe, and occasionally in Western Europe. NBG Venture Capital also advises a dedicated fund for technology investments.