Банкеръ Weekly



The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) assumed in end-June control over the management of the Pleven-based cannery Storko. Now, under the Special Pledges Act, the EBRD is preparing through the investment intermediary Elana AD the sale of Storko in order to get its USD6MN receivables. The bank applied a similar scheme in the beginning of 2002 to another Bulgarian enterprise - the pulp and paper mill Tselhart (located in the town of Stamboliiski). Then, however, the credit institution and the International Financial Corporation purchased the mill's assets at a public tender, while a new investor will be sought in Storko's case. The Pleven-based cannery was privatized on November 2, 1995 by Luxcraft Trading Ltd. (registered on the island of Jersey, Great Britain), owned by the Geller Group. The off-shore company paid USD100,000 for 80% of Storko's assets, undertaking as well to settle the cannery's liabilities of USD12.9MN and invest by 1998 another USD6.5MN in equipment and new technologies.In April 1996 the EBRD released a loan of USD8.25MN to Storko AD against the entire enterprise as a pledge, and another USD1.75MN against a minority 13-percent stake in the company. Two years later, however, Luxcraft stopped servicing the debt (meantime reduced to USD6MN) and the creditor - EBRD - entered the cannery.The pledged property has been distributed into three groups. Only the core production and the trade mark will be put up for sale at a tender. According to Storko's Acting Manager Hristo Karamfilov (who is also Executive Director of the investment intermediary Elana AD), the invitation for the bidding will be publishd in the first days of September. Within three weeks after its publication potential investors will be able to survey the assets, offered for sale. Mr. Karamfilov claims that several firms have already showed interest in the enterprise. The tender itself will be held in the beginning of October and the creditor expects some USD2MN from the sale.The other two groups include Storko's warehouse stocks and ready products, evaluated at USD3.7MN, immovable property (worth about USD500,000-600,000) such as shops, storehouses, production workshops and stations for purchase of agricultural products, situated in Pleven and the nearby settlements. They are being sold out at present, Mr. Karamfilov specifeid for the BANKER weekly.

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