Банкеръ Weekly



Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar) won the tender for the Varna Shipyard in competition with the private company Eurometal AD. The latter is a minority shareholder in Stomana Industry AD of Pernik. Navibulgar won the bidding at the price of BGN35.5MN, equal to 89.33 per cent of the shipyard's assets, evaluated by Price WaterHouseCoopers. The two companies were the only participants in the tender. Indonesia's SeaGasko, which was also expected to take part in the bidding, failed to submit in time the required deposit of BGN3.9MN. Thus, only Bulgarian companies bid for the assets of the shipyard, for which Deputy Premier and Minister of Economy Nikolai Vassilev was tenaciouly seeking a forein investor.The decision for participation in the tender was made by Navibulgar's Board of Directors at a meeting on Monday evening between 20.00 and 23.00 hrs, Navibulgar's Director General captain Geno Genov specified. In his words this was the only certain way not to lose the Trapezitsa ship, whose construction had been almost completed. Navibulgar has invested more than USD9.5MN in the vessel so far.Navibulgar did not submit a deposit for participation in the bidding as it is a creditor of the shipyard and its receivables are much higher than the demanded BGN3.9MN. This is admissible according to the tender rules, Ivan Boyadzhiev, CEO of the shipyard before it was declared insolvent, said.The Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, which is Navibulgar's principal, was not informed about the company's participation in the bidding. The press office of the ministry explained for the BANKER weekly that no permission from the principal was necessary, but according to the Transport Minister Plamen Petrov the acquisition of the shipyard could prove to be a profitable deal. Moreover, Navibulgar is a commercial company which is entitled to make its own decisions.The representatives of Eurometal AD went out of the bidding visibly dissatisfied. However, the company's Manager Lyudmil Staikov said they would decide later on if the tender procedure would be litigated. He commented that it was not logical for a state-owned company to buy another one, which is insolvent. According to him, this is unprecedented. We intended to develop shipbuilding, Mr. Stoikov said. We have financial resources, the banks are behind us. For the first time since 1990 a state-run company buys another state-owned company, he added. The offer of the Pernik-based company projected investments of up to USD10MN for re-equipment and hiring of 1,000 employees now and another 1,600-1,800 in a year. Mr. Stoikov declared they intended to manage the company by themselves. Several Greek and one Turkish company were also interested in the Varna shipyard.Navibulgar's Director General captain Geno Genov refused to say where his company would get BGN35.5MN from after Bulgaria's merchant fleet has to pay off credits of some USD60MN. He only informed that the financing of the deal was ensured, without specifying if the credit line would come from Bulgaria or abroad.Navibulgar will initially invest USD11MN for completion of the construction of ships. Trapezitsa and the Greek vessel Dolly will be soon completed.The lawyer of Indonesia's SeaGasko Stefan Stanoev was not admitted to the bidding due to the company's failure to submit the required deposit. The reason was the Easter holdiays in the USA. The amount for the deposit was remitted from Indonesia to a bank in New York last week before Easter. But due to the difference of time the money from the US bank could not arrive on time in the Varna branch of Central Cooperative Bank (CCB).The new owner of the shipyard shall be finally known on April 8. Then BGN35.5MN should be remitted to the account of CCB's trustees in bankruptcy. Otherwise, according to legal stipulations, negotiations with the second candidate buyer Eurometal AD will begin. However, the company's Manager Lyudmil Staikov said he was not sure if Eurometal AD would further participate in the deal if things develop that way.The purchase of the Varna shipyard shall not change the projected listing of Navibulgar's shares on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, capital Geno Genov said.Under the procedure, after the money is remitted, the trustees in bankruptcy should notify the Varna District Court, which on its part should immediately issue an ordinance for handing over the property to the new owner and bring it within its power. The results of the tender could be litigated within 7 days after that. Depending on the grounds in the claim the procedure may be cancelled or not, the shipyard's trustees in bankruptcy Dimitar Smilenov and Vladimir Tsachev explained.

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